FLASH OF GRACE
I never hesitate to follow the adventure to the end of a trail in my search for the sublime, wherever it's to be found.
To this end, I deploy whatever means are at my disposal, whether hopping on a plane or hiking through the bush for hours in order to reach my goal. With this in mind, I love to tell the story of my Antelope Canyon adventure in Page Arizona; the name was given to the most visited *slot canyons in the world.
For many years, I'd heard about this unique location. Discovered in 1900 by a young Navajo girl, Upper Antelope Canyon is by far one of the most spectacular slot canyons to be found in the American southwest, and indeed the world. Before my departure, my research had allowed me to scope out any potential pitfalls that would be waiting for me in my quest to capture my photographic images. The following points had to be taken seriously into consideration: the best time of year for taking pictures is May; the ideal time to take pictures is between 11 am and 1 pm; it is necessary to be accompanied by a Navajo guide; sand-storms are a distinct possibility; and finally, the tourist demand is enormous.
Of all these constraints, only the last I deemed unacceptable. How could I take beautiful photographs if the location was full of a tourist; that was my dilemma. I made the decision to go there myself and scout the location, my goal being to take photos completely free of any traces of human presence in the landscape. This dream obsessed me. I wanted it at all costs. Arriving at the location, I made contact with a young Navajo; she set me up with two men from the area that agreed to accompany me. These two guides knew the place like the back of their hand, allowing me to take lots of pictures away from the hordes of tourists, and whenever possible, halted the circulation of visitors during the shoot. I was so thrilled and nervous at the same time; adrenaline can really push you to your limit! Happily, the beautiful images I captured were extremely satisfying. My fine art shots of Upper Antelope Canyon are unique and my pains were largely rewarded.
I have fond memories from this expedition, captured in the photograph Moment de grace: like a golden pistil, a shaft of light penetrated right into the heart of this haunting rock flowers steep crevice... one hundred and thirty feet deep. A moment of pure ecstatic beauty!
When I think back on this experience, I am reminded of the beauty of our planet, and how happy I am to have the chance to discover and share it in its finest moments.
* Slot canyon: A canyon where the sides of the crevices are sometimes so close it's not possible to walk across them.
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