Tips for Shooting in a Slot Canyon

February 03, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Slot Canyons can be the most challenging of environments for landscape photography so preparation is very important. For upper Antelope Canyon you will need to book a photographer tour which requires the use a tripod.

Dust is everywhere and it is dark inside. The light from the sun peeking inside the slot moves fast so be prepared to work quickly.  I recommend not changing lens inside the canyon and shoot with a widest-angle lens that you have.  I didn’t use filters due to the dust, working in the dark and the lack of time to set up for a shot.

Be ready to adjust your setting in the dark.  Preset as many settings as possible. I recommend starting with ISO 100, F8, mirror lock up, evaluative metering and white balance set at 6500k-7500k for warmer tones (orange & reds) or 4500k to 5500k for cooler tones (purple & blues).  I used Auto white balance so that in post production I can determine image by image if I want it to warm it up or cool in down.  Expect a longer shutter speed (1-8 sec) so use a sturdy tripod and cable release.

It’s also important to use your RGB histograms red channels are easily over exposed and set highlight warning to “on” to verify that your highlights are not over exposed. 
 
For those HDR photographers there’s just not enough time for too many exposures at each location so I shot most images with a wide range of light, underexposed, shooting for the highlights and pulling out the shadows in postproduction.  
 
Smartphone Photographers
You can go on the general tour.  Set your phone on HDR mode and turn off your flash then your phone camera will capture much of the same the magic!
 

Have fun shooting!

Melody


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