Trip to the USA – Page

This is the fourth post of the series on my Trip to the USA, following the previous one dedicated to the Grand Canyon. The area around Page is absolutely stunning, there is a lot to talk about.

We left the Grand Canyon to be at Page in time to see the sunset. This was planned, since I absolutely wanted to take photos of the very famous Horseshoe Bend. I don’t remember much about the road between the two places (luckily we have taken so many videos that I’ll check later), but probably this is because they are not very far apart. In fact Page is “just” 1 hour and 46 minutes away from the Grand Canyon south rim.

I was super excited to see this postcard worthy place, but what I didn’t know was that to get to the breathtaking sight, I had to walk 15 minutes from the car park. All the photographers know that every minute, after sunset, counts, so I was worried to miss out on the good light. After we paid the ticket to enter (this is not part of the national parks), we picked up all the equipment and start a brisk walk to the place. Obviously, so many people! Luckily a good part of them leave just after the sun disappears, time when the photographers actually start to shoot. Note that the best spot is protected by railings and you will have a hard time to get the right angle. I am not sure what advice to give here. It’s very hard to take a photo that is not the usual one. Every now and then there is a motorboat passing by and its wake could be an interesting variation. Of course do not forget a tripod. For traveling, I use a light and short one, but because of the railings, a tall one would have been useful here.

I personally believe that landscape photos are more interesting with people in it (unless you are after a panting/postcard type of photo of course), but with so many people around you would have a hard time to get something interesting.

I was eventually happy. The photography opportunity was good, but the place was even better and I can tell you that, many times, I had to turn around to avoid looking at some crazy tourist completely out of their mind hanging from the boulders around the canyon with no protection at all.

By the way, in the second photo you may notice some campfires down there, that’s because it’s actually possible to get to the river with some organized half-day tours. Just saying in case you are interested.

After the stop we moved to the hotel, what a terrible hotel! The worst of entire trip! I guess that American fellas won’t be surprised, but we were and horrified too. NEVER book a Motel 6 whatever cheap it is! You will just regret it.

Page is a small town, with a gorgeous looking texas bbq restaurant (I totally regret I didn’t go there), but more astonishingly, with all the possible churchs you can find in USA lined up one after the other in one single road. We counted 7 of them. I guess that covers the most important christian religions in America? 🙂

In the middle of the desert, Page is obviously driven by tourism. It’s also the place where for the first time I have noticed a high concentration of Native Americans. I would have loved to spend more time among them, something to check next time.

After a very uncomfortable night, we were ready to go to the highlight of the place. The Antelope Canyon.

We booked it online with Viator and we reached the place without much effort. Antelope Canyon offers two entrances, we went to the lower one and we were totally unaware of what really was waiting for us. We checked some photos, but photos cannot give any idea of what expected us.

During the waiting we were entertained by one native american dancer (by the way, americans call them american indians, so don’t think it’s an obsolete way to address native americans, but I understand if you think indians is racist or symbol of inglorious times for the Americans). Check him out, I couldn’t stop thinking about how hot it should have been under that coat!

Now for some fun fact: this is how the Canyon look from the way to get there:

yep surprise, it’s just a crack! This because the canyon is actually below the surface! That’s why it’s called Slot Canyon.

My expectation was that this canyon would have been a 10 minutes walk. What an awesome surprise, literally awesome, when I found out there was almost a 1 hour walking on the path through an incredible organic shaped sculpture modelled by the rain and colored by the harsh sun of the desert.

Now imagine for just one minute the nicest native american guide I ever met, trying to let a group of a dozen of people flow, so that the timetable is not affected, and the very same tiny lady chasing me all the time to remind me to not stop for too long. Now imagine me like a cowboy, with a camera instead of a gun, being the fastest shooter known so far. Every meter of the path was immortalized from every angle possible!

I worked two days to process the photos, and these are the ones I love the most:

Each photo has been processed with the Lightroom automatic HDR merging from a set of 3 photos taken with my Pentax K1 handheld. Tripods are not allowed and the reasons are obvious once you get inside, however special and super expensive tours for photographers exist and can be booked. By the way, don’t make the mistake to think you can book on the day or just show up, these activies MUST be booked weeks before.

My wife was taking photos with her Huawei P30 Pro, check out the results:

I find the tonal range of these photos incredible for such a sensor. Noise in the shadow is very high, but that was expected. What I didn’t expect is how the camera managed to keep all the highlight information while still showing good detail at mid tones.

And this is us with our fantastic guide. First time in the USA that I literally ran to tip someone:

And now it’s the time of “What I would do if I will go there again”:

I would stay, at least, a day more. This because there are many other things to see not too far from Page, including:

I think it’s time to conclude the visit to Page and I leave you with some photo-memories. You can see that the desert is actually like it looks in the American movies!

Last trivia:

There is another Dam in Page, called Glen Canyon Dam, which encloses the Colorado River like the Hoover Dam does. Both dams have been controversial since their announcement, as they heavily affected the wildlife that relies on the river. You can read more about it on Wikipedia.

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