Alain Briot Print of the Month Collection
Print of the Month Photograph Number One

Antelope Light Dance, Antelope Canyon, Arizona
(copyright logo not present on actual fine art print)

Mr. Briot, I wanted to let you know how happy I am with the picture I purchased from you last month. I have it hanging in my office at work so that I can enjoy it each and every day. Everyone that comes in asks me about it. They, too, agree the picture is awesome.

Cathy Crouse, Lowgap, North Carolina.

Antelope Canyon
For the first photograph in the Alain Briot Print of the Month Photograph Collection I selected one of my favorite images, as well as a long standing favorite among collectors: Antelope Light Dance. This photograph was created in Upper Antelope Canyon, Arizona, in 1999.

Antelope Canyon is one of the most fascinating places I know of anywhere in the world. I like it so much that I must have been there well over 100 times. I know, this sounds unbelievable. It isn't. The first time I explored Antelope Canyon was in 1986 and since then I have been there an average of 5 or 10 times a month.

Yes, the first time I went to Antelope Canyon was 17 months ago! Back then going to Antelope was a very different endeavor than it is today. There were no signs, no brochures, no guides to take you there or tell you how to find the canyon. All I had to go by were a couple of photographs, each creatively labeled with names such as "The Corkscrew", "Jodi Canyon", or "The Crack". The location was most often listed as "Lake Powell". With such vague notions to go by the fact I found Antelope Canyon at all is remarkable.

My first visit to Antelope Canyon
I visited Antelope Canyon for the first time in 1986. At that time the location was little known and I had nothing but the name of the canyon to go by when I tried to find it. I asked friends about the photographs I had seen and they mentioned the name "Antelope Canyon" but did not get much details about the exact location of Antelope Canyon. I lived in Flagstaff then, and Antelope Canyon was part of the local culture. "Desert Rats", --river runners, hikers, ruins and rock-art explorers, etc.-- knew about it. However, revealing the exact location was another story. At best they would take you there. At worst they would say nothing. I fell somewhere in between: I got the name.

If this name was accurate it had to be on a map. Since the location was "Lake Powell", a location which was vague but which encompassed a specific region, looking at a map of lake Powell was the solution. This was easy enough. Since I had seen the highest concentration of Antelope Canyon photographs near Page, Arizona, I started studying the map in the vicinity of Page.

The answer was right there in front of me. Antelope Canyon was only a few miles North-East of Page. I drove there, parked my car where the road passed over a wash, and started exploring. A few minutes later I was staring into a deep, dark and narrow crevice. After some time walking along the rim, trying to find a way down, I managed to squeeze myself into the slot. I had no ropes on this first visit and could only explore the shallower parts of Antelope Canyon. The first serious drop-off stopped my progress.

Framed pieces are delivered in a stunning mahogany finish frame.

Antelope Canyon Today
The photographs I brought back from this first visit pale in comparison to what I can do now. However, to me they were marvelous and they entranced me to come back. I returned better equipped, accompanied by friends equipped with ropes and climbing gear. It also motivated me to start a time-consuming, although futile, search for another Antelope Canyon. This search was motivated by the belief that if Antelope was so beautiful and yet so easy to find there must be another canyon, or many other canyons, just like it and many better. It was only a matter of finding them. 17 months and many slot canyons later I still have not found this "other" Antelope Canyon. Perhaps there is one. Perhaps Antelope Canyon is the best one: a one-of -a-kind, world-class wonder. Certainly there are many other slot canyons. I know, I have explored many of them. But none have the beauty, the splendor, the unique quality of Antelope. Do I regret the time I spent searching for another Antelope Canyon? Not at all. This search taught me how unique Antelope Canyon really is.

Today, going to Antelope Canyon is as simple as driving to the booth where Navajo guides issue permits all day long. You can ask them to accompany you into the canyon or they will give you easy directions on how to get it there by yourself. Metal ladders have replaced the ropes and anchors we installed. Time-limits control how long photographers can spend in Antelope. There are arguments whether these changes are for the best or for the worst. Personally, I prefer the way it was before. But I know that managing Antelope Canyon is a must given how many people come to see it. Antelope is a very small place, a place where only a few visitors can go through at a time. Without proper management it will have to be closed.

The Photograph
This beautiful photograph was created with my large format Linhoff Master Technica 4x5 and my75mm Schneider Super Angulon. I used Fuji Provia 100F film

The exposure was several seconds long. Antelope Canyon is quite dark, and very much like a cave in a sense, hence relatively long exposures are necessary if you want to maximize depth of field. I was fortunate to find a place in the main "room" of the canyon where the sand was falling into a shaft of sunlight forpriceming both an unlikely and a magical combination of light and sand. I exposed for a couple of seconds only so that the sand wouldn't get completely blurred.

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