I have spent most of my summer travels in the cool high altitudes of Colorado or Wyoming. But I kept finding these stunning images of Arizona and Utah and decided we need to go. To sum it up, my first trip to the desert and slot canyons of Arizona was visually overwhelming. I hope you enjoy the photos!

Antelope Canyon was once a rare and  quite gem. It has become a tourist magnet drawing heavy visitor crowds from around the world. My trip was in the summer when crowds are worst. In fact, I couldn’t get a tour guide to recommend I go during the day. There would be people all over my photo. So, I went at night.

We  drove with our guide into the deep sand of the dry river bed up to a rock cliff wall. The river seemed to end there.  A crack from top to bottom allowed water to squeeze through this tiny canyon at high pressure, carving crazy shapes in the soft sandstone walls and ceiling. Our guide brought a car battery and a diffused light bar to help illuminate the canyon at midnight. We were hoping to shoot the milky way and star trails looking up through the crack at the top of the canyon, but clouds were in the way.  A few shots from our visit are below.

Antelope Canyon photographs, prints, stock photography by American Landscape Photographer Mike Brymer
Antelope Canyon was once a rarely photographed and quiet slot canyon. Huge crowds have found this tiny slot canyon. An alternative is to take a private tour at night taking lights. This image of a heart was created by swirling, fast moving flood waters during the monsoon.



Antelope Canyon National Park fine art Prints and Images-6949
Antelope Canyon slot canyon at night.


The next morning, I was up at 5 am to meet the guides by 6. We were headed to Canyon X on private Navajo land. When we got out of the FJ Cruiser, there were lizard tracks everywhere. A short walk led us down in to a tiny dry riverbed of deep sand, surrounded by 50 foot tall steep walls. Canyon X was tiny but stunning, my favorite of the trip.


Canyon X Slot Canyon sunbeam photographs, prints, stock photography by American Landscape Photographer Mike Brymer
“Illumination” is a Fine Art Landscape Photograph and Print. Sunbeams only occur for a few minutes per day in this tiny slot canyon, and only in a limited number of days. The sunlight creates stunning hues within the depths of the canyon.


Slot Canyon Photograph and Fine Art Print, The Woman in Sandstone
This morning we traveled to Canyon X with 1 guide and 1 other photographer happy to avoid the throngs at Antelope Canyon during the day. Lizard and Snack tracks covered the sand like speggheti, but otherwise totally serene, silent, peaceful. The tiny canyon provided very soft light that enabled me to see the shape of the woman in the sandstone.


Slot Canyon images
Monsoon floods have created gemstone like facets in this small slot canyon.


Images of Canyon X Slot Canyon Sunbeams
Do you see the T Rex in the rock? The shaft of sunlight adds to the Jurassic Park imagery.


Images of Canyon X Slot Canyon Sunbeams
The opening at the top of this slot canyon was so small that the sun star lasted less than a minute. A special gift on this long day of exploring.


Antelope Canyon Canyon X Slot Canyon sunbeam photographs, prints, stock photography by American Landscape Photographer Mike Brymer
Canyon X Slot Canyon sunbeam.


Images of Secret Canyon Slot Canyon
The sandstone walls of this tiny slot canyon appear to be perfectly sculpted by a master. The light and shadow accentuate the stunning imagery.

Later in the afternoon, we took an H2 Hummer deep into the desert with a crazy kid driving our guide, another photographer, and my wife and I. We were headed to Secret Canyon. The H2 was needed for some near vertical  walls we had to descend and ascend.  To get into the dry riverbed, be were so vertical  that we had to hold ourselves in our seats by putting our hands on the front seat backs. The headlights were nearly touching the sandy river bed bottom, and the back rear passenger side  wheel was off the ground. We could bounce the H2 back and forth!

After we got onto the deep -deep sand of the river bed, the driver pushed the pedal to the floor and we bounced violently from sandy hole to sandy hill at high speed. As we approached the eventual cliff, he pushed harder and went vertically straight up a high sand wash about 30 feet, until we lost traction and slid backwards down to the river bed. My wife is prone to car sickness and prefers very sedate driving. To her credit, I didn’t hear her say anything until this last stunt. She told the kid, if he didn’t stop showboating, she was going to “hurl” all over him and his H2. Problem solved!

Secret Canyon was very narrow. The afternoon light was my favorite. Less orange and more purple, but also softer shadows.

Secret Canyon slot canyon photography, prints, and stock photography by American Landscape Photographer Mike Brymer
Secret Canyon near Page Arizona in the afternoon. The sandstone is so soft, that a rock in your pocket will turn to sand after just a  few miles of hiking. The wind blown sand falls deep into the slot canyon.


Photographs and Fine Art Prints  of Secret Slot Canyon
Secret Canyon in the afternoon. Purples, mauves, soft orange glows were everywhere.


We later bounced and hopped more sedately over to The Finns. The tilt shift was a great fit for this site.  Side lighting at sunset is the perfect time to go…

I was very happy with quality and quantity of photos I was able to capture in this marathon day in  the desert. I hope you enjoyed them and get to make the trip yourself. If not, I would be happy to sell you a small or huge print from my trip.

Photographs and Prints of The Finns in Arizona sandstone desert
The Finns near Page Arizona. My final few images after 13 hours of shooting in the desert. The light and color reflects differently in each angle of sandstone, creating limitless opportunity for the eye to explore as it travels throughout this scene. Our guided H2 Hummer was needed to get to this rough desert location.

I’ll have more desert trip posts on Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon  coming shortly. I already have a post out on Monument Valley. Fantastic few days of photography there.  I hope you decide to read it!


Mike Brymer is an American Landscape Photographer from Central Texas. His images of Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, California, and Iowa have been in National Juried Art Exhibits, Art and Gallery exhibits,  published, collected internationally,  and grace the walls of home owners, businesses, and boardrooms. If you are interested in seeing more of his portfolio, see his website (link below)


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