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August in Upper Antelope Canyon

Pierson X


Behind the Shot

Over the course of hundreds of thousands of years, the waters from Arizona’s Colorado River slowly carved slot canyons into porous sandstone rocks. As deep as 120 feet in spots, a usually dry streambed winds through the narrow slot canyon, creating beautiful curved grooved walls, each line a record of the canyon floor’s past.

The canyon is deep in Navajo territory. No one knows when the Navajo first explored the slot canyons, but throughout recorded history, herds of antelope freely roamed the canyon, and cattle grazed in the canyon and surrounding area. The Navajo name for the Upper Antelope Canyon in the Navajo Nation in Page, Arizona, is Tse'bighanilini, which roughly translates to “The place where water runs through rocks.” In 1997, the Navajo tribe incorporated Antelope Canyon as a Navajo Tribal Park, and allowed permitted access to outside visitors. Since then, Upper and Lower Antelope have become popular tourist destinations for explorers and photographers.

Pierson visited the Canyon in August of 2019. “I love the textures of the rocks and the sand—so many textures and colors. But it was so hot. We were melting.”