New gallery - "Best of Slot Canyons"

 Date: 09-Jun-2019 Category:

Rainbow-colored slot canyon

Rainbow-colored Slot Canyon

Steffen and I just released a new gallery, "Best of Slot Canyons" featuring some of our all-time favorite images from the last 15 years in the American Southwest (mainly Arizona and Southern Utah). Hope you enjoy!

This month's image was taken during our latest trip in April 2019. It is a great example for all the magic that happens deep within those narrow canyon walls. When they rise high up as e.g. in the Antelope Canyons the direct sunlight hitting the upper part of the slot is reflected multiple times while on its way down to the ground. The light gets dimmer and the sandstone displays all shades of yellow, orange, pink, purple and blue. It looks like an inverted rainbow, just sparing out the green tones. But what you actually see is the fantastic mix of reflected light from the canyon walls ("red tones" because the Navajo sandstone absorves all the wavelengths of the sunlight except red!) and the scattered daylight ("blue tones" since this is the part of the visible daylight spectrum that reaches deep into the canyon because of its higher frequency and strongest scattering).

The light show in a canyon can change within a minute's time, you can easily see the ethereal beams moving at a fast pace while hitting the ground and the walls. Different times of the day and even different seasons in the year can make all the difference. While the sun is much higher in the sky during late spring and early summer, the light reaches deeper into the canyons and the orange tones prevail. During the winter months the sunlight often casts purple and blue hues, and if the slots are really deep and narrow, they may stay all dark even at midday.

April and May are usually the best months for Slot Canyon Photography. That's when the sun is already high enough in the sky, and flash floods are way less frequent than during summer monsoon season (from mid June until the end of September). Chasing and capturing the ever changing light inside those labyrinths carved over millions of years into the desert floor is without any doubt one of the most exciting experiences in a photographer's life.


Image data: Focus- and Luminosity-blended (we can highly recommend Tony Kuyper's Luminosity Masks), 1/3 s - 30 s at f/16, ISO 200; Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM at 36 mm, Canon EOS 5D Mark IV