Monday, October 5, 2009

Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon

Slot canyon photos, especially of the Antelope Slot Canyon in Arizona, are classic landscape icons - almost to the point of being cliche'. But there is an allure about them that makes people continue to shoot them.

I finally got my chance to visit a slot canyon in April of 2008 during a family vacation in Moab, Utah. One of the side trips our friend Roy and I took while we were all there was to Goblin Valley State Park, also in Utah. Unbeknown to us until we got there, about 7 miles to the west of the Goblin Valley is Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon, in the San Rafael Swell.

Slot canyons are carved by flash floods and are deadly in the rainy season. Fortunately we were there in good weather, so we made the trek up the lower third of the three linked sections. It's not a difficult walk, but it did have its challenges.

As you can see, the canyon got real narrow in spots. Footing was tricky at times because the floor wasn't wide enough for our shoes. More than once I had to lean over to the side to walk. At one point I got wedged between the walls and had to take my camera pack off and turn sideways to squeeze through.

Even though it got claustrophobic, it was amazingly beautiful. The swirling patterns in the rock were gorgeous and the color incredible. Even though we were there around two in the afternoon not much light was getting in. Setting up the tripod was a challenge in spots, but well worth the effort.

Naturally, on a couple of shots, a whole group of people started coming through the canyon heading back the way we came just at the same time I was ready to press the shutter release. It was like Grand Central Station there for a few minutes. It never fails. It's like that shooting planes at air shows, too.

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