The American Southwest is home to some amazing landscapes, from wide-open desert vistas to the more intimate vignettes found across the canyon-country of the Colorado Plateau of the Four Corners region. There are a few places on the plateau where slot canyons have formed, with perhaps the best-known slot canyon being Antelope Canyon near the town of Page, Arizona.
I've photographed both Upper Antelope and Lower Antelope slot canyons many times, and I used to run photography workshops and tours in Lower Antelope. I have fond memories of my first trip into Lower Antelope Canyon many years ago when the Navajo guide led our small group into the canyon, gave us a brief tour during which he pointed out some of his favorite features, and then he allowed us to explore and photograph the canyon on our own for about four hours. Unfortunately, both Upper Antelope and Lower Antelope are very crowded nowadays, and photography passes are no longer available. Still, I understand why so many people want to experience this place as it's stunningly beautiful.
Thanks to a friend, I recently had the opportunity to photograph a lesser-visited slot canyon near Page, Arizona, known as Cardiac Canyon. This canyon is restricted to no more than six visitors a day, and it requires more physical effort to get into the canyon with a 200-foot descent down a steep and sandy slope and about 2.5 miles of hiking. Once you're in the canyon, there are obstacles to overcome requiring using ropes that have been pre-set by the Navajo guides. And then of course, you must climb up and out of the canyon using that same 200-foot sandy slope at the end of the day. The experience and beauty of Cardiac Canyon makes all of the effort worth it.