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Antelope Canyon

In August of 1981 I camped in my modified Toyota Landcruiser at the entrance to Antelope Canyon, just east of Page, Arizona.  It was my most magical photographic experience.

I'd thought to spend just a day or two.  On the first morning, as I walked through the canyon with my 4x5 camera I would set up to expose a negative, then the light would change or I'd see a different possibility.  I put the camera away, sat in the entrance chamber for a while absorbing the spirit of the place.  Late in the afternoon I climbed to the top of the mesa and literally stepped across a foot wide gap carved eons ago by a small stream over sandstone. Eventually that stream cut through the red sandstone and created the canyon. The next day I simply walked up and down the length of the canyon, responding to what caught my eye at different times of the day, making notes and placing pieces of paper corresponding to my notes on the sandy canyon floor.  Over the next three days I followed my notes and made photographs. 

On the last day, after I had finished making all of the images in my notes, I returned to the entrance chamber to say goodbye.  I saw "one last photograph."  But by the time I retrieved and set up my camera, the wind began to blow high above me.  From 120 feet above me, sand drifted, then spilled toward my lens and camera.  I laughed.  I was being told to leave, so I started repacking my equipment.  Suddenly, I was startled by two people walking in to explore the canyon.  I'd been alone with the canyon's spirit for five days.  Another signal that my time was up.  I smiled in acknowledgement.

As I drove out the wash back to the highway, something else caught my eye.  I stopped and took out the camera and started setting up to make another exposure.  Raindrops hit my hat.  I looked up and around.  Only a few cotton puff clouds dotted the blue sky.  Again I laughed.  The message was loud and clear: No More Photographs!   I packed up, thanked the spirits,  and continued my journey.

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