A mix of direct and indirect light create a spectrum of colors in Lower Antelope Canyon.
Picture of Stephen Girimont

Stephen Girimont

Owner, The Intimate Landscape, Fine Art Prints

Mixed Light

"A major benefit to the act of going back through all my images is the opportunity to find diamonds in the rough"
A mix of direct and indirect light create a spectrum of colors in Lower Antelope Canyon.

Every so often, I like to go back through my image library and update the keywords on all my images for easier searching. My image library currently contains over 120,000 images, so this is not going to be easy – or quick. However, one major benefit to the act of going back through all my images is the opportunity to find diamonds in the rough: images that I passed over for whatever reason when originally processing a shoot, but that really struck me when given a second chance.

The image above is one such gem. Shot way back in 2008 in Lower Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona, I’m not at all sure why I didn’t think much of this image back then, but I love it now.

The colors in the image need a little explanation: when sunlight reflects off sandstone and onto other sandstone (one side of the slot canyon onto the other, in this case), the color goes deep orange. Where the sandstone is not being illuminated by reflected sunlight, it is being lit by open, blue, sky and so takes on a bluish shade.

The curved shape of the canyon wall on the left of the image means that the left-most part of that wall is angled towards a part of the canyon that is in direct sunlight (further into the canyon, behind the part of the wall at the upper right). The left wall is getting sunlight reflected onto it so it glows orange. The part of the wall that’s curved facing the camera is not receiving any reflected sunlight and is shaded bluish because of the open sky above. You can see this same pattern of orange/blue colors deeper in the canyon. Plus, there’s an interesting log you can see that’s gotten itself jammed in the canyon during a previous flash flood.

This image was taken in September 2008 using a Canon 5D digital camera with a Canon 16-35mm zoom lens at the wide end of the zoom. The exposure was 10 seconds at f/22, ISO 100.

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