Slot Canyon

Black & White Slot Canyon Photographs
Antelope Canyon Photographs
Medium Format Photographs


Slot Canyon Series

Slot Canyon 1 Slot Canyon 2
Slot Canyon 3 Slot Canyon 4

All of the photographs in my Slot Canyon Series were captured in Antelope Canyon, Arizona. Each required long exposure times because of the limited light available. I always set my aperture at F22 because of my own particular preference for great depth of field and no blur. I also prefer to move in quite close to my subject to capture detail and texture, and to organize my composition in a small frame rather than in a large expanse, or panoramic space. This, of course, is my own particular photographic style and certainly not, in any way, suggestive of a universal point of view, or dogma. I still use film and a medium-format Hasselblad camera, and my camera is always mounted on a tripod. Why take the chance of movement (unless you choose it) when you come upon that Aha! moment. Of course, that moment can be quite different for each of us. The entire concept of art and photography is founded on individual tastes and philosophy, subjective to say the least. What I visualize in my images can have absolutely no meaning whatsoever to someone who views the world quite differently. I view photography as an art form. Others see it as a recording of a particular time or place. The images I capture in black and white can be very unappealing to someone who sees the world in color. I have to assume that since you are here, you have some interest in black-and-white photography.

The mechanics of photography, however, are pretty much the same no matter how individual our personal vision. A photograph is composed of specific elements that, unlike a painting for instance, must generally be based in reality. What we choose to do with it from that point on has to do with our own view, or eye. We might all look at the same scene, but what each of us sees can be quite different. I do, however, believe that there are fundamental rules that apply to photography, as in all art. Do each of the elements relate to the others to form a cohesive composition or are they just separate elements that happened to be caught by the camera? We have the choice to include or exclude whatever elements we feel do not work in the composition as a whole.

But, I digress. Getting back to my Slot Canyon images, my first impression was that it was all too beautiful and expansive to capture on film, especially in black and white. I was wrong. After looking closely, and not just being an onlooker, I zeroed in on what I thought worked compositionally. As an aside, my group and I had to climb down 40 feet into lower Antelope Canyon to capture some of what you see here. Our equipment had to be lowered down separately because of the narrow opening. I later learned that a photography team had drowned in that same area after a flash flood occurred quite quickly and unexpectedly about a week after I had been there. I would have to hope that further precautions were put in place after that terrible experience.

I choose photographically not to record a scene as it is viewed, but rather to add my own voice to the landscape. For me, the landscape is just a jumping-off place. I elect to alter, minimize, slant, and juxtapose it according to my own tastes. It is what it is, but it is not what it has to be ultimately.

One other thing. We all evolve artistically just as we do in all other ways. What once looked appealing might one day look quite inane once moving further along.

One more thought. Know the zone system. It's a darned pain in the neck to learn, but once you've gotten the idea, it's magic. Ansel Adams would agree.

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