Photographers beware of the careless, reckless behavior of tour guides in upper slot canyon and the moth season (2 weeks in May this year)  in the lower slot canyon.

 I was horrified to see tour guides from a nearby town, encouraging individuals to throw handful after handful of sand into the air to accentuate the light beams shooting down from above for their own, paying, tour groups to photograph. At one point, both a guide and a woman were frantically flinging handfuls of sand into the air. Dust soon filled the entire surrounding area. I quickly tried to cover my camera gear to keep the sand and dust from penetrating buttons and lens barrels, which can quickly trash your equipment. Tour group after tour group literally pushed their way through the canyon with the tour guides demanding all others in the canyon get out of their way. If a flash flood occurred on this particular day, many people could have been seriously hurt or worse. Apparently there is no maximum capacity in the upper slot at any particular time.  It cost me $26.00 for 2 hours (maximum time allowed) in the upper slot. I only managed to get about 4 photographs.

Toward the end of my trip,  I visited the lower slot canyon. I paid my $18.50 for unlimited time (these operators obviously are not as greedy as the operators in the upper slot) in what I consider a more beautiful slot with less congestion. I mentioned to one of the operators at the booth that this was my fourth visit to the lower slot and asked if I was in time for the beam of light. He replied that it should appear any time now. I proceeded down to the entrance to wiggle and squeeze my way through the slot opening and down the first of a few short steel ladders. I could not believe my eyes....there were thousands of moths flying everywhere. They were landing and crawling on literally everything. I immediately realized it would be impossible to photograph anything......other than the moths, of which I had no interest. To say the least, I was very disappointed that the operator did not warn me about the moths, as it should have been obvious to him that I was a serious photographer with a medium format camera hanging from around my neck, and a 35mm camera and tripod in both hands. He could have said that it would probably be a better day just to sight-see the canyon, rather than photograph it. But lets face the facts....it's all about the $$$$$$$$$$$ to the operators of both slots. I expressed my disappointment to another operator/guide in the lower canyon as I exited the slot, as well as the woman who replaced the man collecting the entrance fee in the booth when I first arrived. All I got was a blank stare from both. Could they no longer understand the English language? They spoke perfect English when they collected my $18.50.

I have concluded that this will most probably be the last time I will ever visit the the beautiful slots in Page, Az. I know that it will no great loss to the canyon operators.

If you plan to visit the slots, ask questions before handing over your money and heading in to the slots, especially in the month of May. Remember, that 11 European vacationers lost their lives in the lower slot due to a flash flood. So ask about the weather conditions, not that they will necessarily tell you the truth.

It's all about

to the operators of the upper and lower slot canyons.