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Canyon Spirit – From the “Humanlandscapes” portfolio

“Canyon Spirit” is another of the images from the special place called Waterholes Canyon on Navajo Nation land near Page, Arizona. It is easier to access than many of the other slots, but feels special for several reasons– to follow. It is best to get a back country permit from the Navajo Tribal Park at Antelope Canyon before entering Waterholes. Head south from Page on route 89 following the mileage markers. There is a bridge at mileage marker 542 that crosses the canyon. The canyon is unmarked, and short but beautiful. Walk east about 300 feet, and then climb down into the gorge and head upstream for the pictured narrows. This image is a tribute to two very different emotions and events. Waterholes is the most feminine of all the canyons with curvaceous and sculptured walls that seem to recreate the folds and rugae of the female vagina, with a promise of new life and pleasure. Amber, the woman in the image, raises her hands skyward in a tribute to Mother Earth. This image is also a tribute to a tragedy that occurred in Lower Antelope Canyon near here. As I mentioned before, heavy rains in the canyons drainage areas will often fill these canyons with rushing water, and since these are narrow spaces, they will fill to the top. The walls are too high and steep to climb out. The storm is often not over the area that floods, but far upstream. These flash floods are very dangerous, so never enter one of the narrows when there is a storm in the area you are exploring. In 1997 there was a flash flood through Lower Antelope Canyon which ultimately drains into Lake Powell. There were twelve people exploring this beautiful cleft and all drowned and were swept down the canyon. Two of the bodies were never found. “Canyon Spirit” pays tribute to feminine beauty and to the lives lost in this beautiful place. So how can you locate these places to visit. The best source is a series of books called “Photographing the Southwest” by Laurent Martres–a three volume set. These books will supply you with a lifetime of exploration in some of the most gorgeous places in the world, and you find them here in the American Southwest. Hint on photographing in the slots–bring a tripod–as the light is often low, and you will need to use a small aperture on your lens setting to avoid blurring of the foreground and ruining your image. The concept of the hyperfocal distance of the lens can help you avoid this as well, and I will cover this later. P. Miller www.humanlandscapes.com

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