Walk-Through Sand Sculpture


Roaming herds of pronghorn antelope were the inspiration for Antelope Canyon’s English name.  Nothing against the antelope, but the canyon’s Navajo name “Hasdeztwazi” (Spiral Rock Arches) seems a better fit for the whimsical geology that attracts photographers from all over the world.

Standing at the bottom of the first ladder in the Lower canyon, I felt as if I’d landed in the burrow of a manic, gifted sculptor. The swirled sandstone passageway revealed only the immediate, and as I edged through and around the billowing rock, my senses bubbled with a steady anticipation.  What colors and formations would materialize around the next curve, at the end of the upcoming ladder or even just behind me if I turned to look back at where I had just been?

Creeping sunlight advanced across the sculpted walls of sand to create an ever changing canvas of colors and shadows.  It was an enveloping sort of art, resplendent with deep purples, rosy reds and vibrant oranges.  A silent studio where pockets of darkness and shafts of light interplayed in astonishingly lovely ways.  And yet, the twisting walls of Lower Antelope Canyon are forever an unfinished work. Water and wind will continue to carve at the slot canyon, softening its edges while inscribing their definitive patterned trails into the walls themselves.

No one is allowed entry into Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon without a purchased pass.  It’s safer that way.  As with any slot canyon, Antelope Canyon is susceptible to flash flooding from distant storms.  My photographer’s pass allowed me to wander at will, without the time restrictions and crowding of a group tour, but with access to the helpful suggestions of floating Navajo guides.  Their timetable of the sun’s passage was better than a bus schedule for this photographer hoping to catch the moving rays of daylight.


13 Comments to Walk-Through Sand Sculpture

  1. Aren’t these just fabulous? What a wondrous thing to see…thank you so much for sharing with us.

    Have a wonderful week.

  2. I shall be as mad as a small child if able to be landed at this place. My camera must be clicking until battery turns flat.

  3. Thanks Marie. I took these photos back in March and have really enjoyed reliving the whole Antelope Canyon experience again.
    Rainfield: And you would get some amazing shots that escaped my notice! You have such a gift for catching details that others might miss, Rainfield.

  4. And this jewels are what I was missing on my last visit in Page, because of weather situations. Well then…. next time I’ll be there for sure! 🙂


  5. great…

  6. Magnificent-the writing as well as the pictures of the canyon.

  7. Dazzling pictures, Heather.

  8. What a magical experience! The sculpture is astounding and so are your pix.

  9. Susanne: You would SO enjoy Lower Antelope Canyon. And I’ve no doubt your photographs would be spectacular -maybe worth their own calendar!
    Free AntiV: Thanks!
    Nothing Profound: Many thanks. I always hope that what the words miss, the photos will capture. And vice versa.
    Graham: Thank you very much.
    Fly Girl: Isn’t it too cool?! It was kind of a southwestern Alice in Wonderland experience.

  10. jane

    Absolutely amazing pictures, Heather. So much inspiration to be had from them!

    • Thanks Jane! Lower Antelope Canyon is one of my favorite places to be in the US ; )

  11. Just amazing…the shapes, the colours…you must’ve had an amazing time in there!! Directly to my travel wishlist on Pinterest 🙂

    • I hope you get there, Laura. It’s definitely worth a visit. Page also has the famed Horseshoe Bend and is the starting point of a breathtaking canyon rafting trip —the kind where you take a camera and don’t have to wear a helmet ; )

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