• Back lit
  • low key
  • Playful
  • Natural Light
  • natural frames
  • Movement
  • Moody
  • lower thirds
  • Leading lines
  • calm
  • Harsh Light
  • Dark
  • Dancing
  • Creative
  • Center Framed
  • canyon
  • Rim Light

The story behind the image

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This is one of my favorite slot canyons I’ve been able to shoot at. I came across it a couple years ago and it’s been one of my go-to places in the area. Because it’s on Navajo land, you do need to have a guided tour to be able to visit the location. Thankfully this day it was pretty empty so we were able to take things pretty slowly and not rush. It’s also pretty accessible which was nice for Stevee with having to walk through the canyon in heels.

This was shot in early April so the sun never reached a pretty high point in the sky which means, less light gets down into the slot canyons. The walls can be up to 30 ft tall in certain areas so depending on where you’re at in the canyon and how tall the walls are can dictate how much light gets in. Flash floods can also change the ground level and how much sand is in there so sometimes you can see 5-7 ft changes in elevation of the ground. The texture of the walls itself is one of my favorite things to see and incorporate into photos.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

My plan was to use the darker canyon walls to frame them where the light was brightest in this portion of the slot canyon. To make it more interesting, I wanted to have Steve playing with her dress so I directed her to wave it back and forth a few times.

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What did you say?

Grab onto the train of your dress with your left hand and wave it back and forth.

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Tone of Directions



My main goal was to show them framed between the two canyon walls. In this particular area, the back wall they are standing next to had the most light falling onto it. Since I was framing them between the two walls, I chose to go with a center-frame composition. Putting them towards the bottom of the frame also shows the scale of the walls they are up against. I also really like how it appears that you’re catching them in a moment through a window almost. It really adds a bit more of an intimate feel to the photo.

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Lower Thirds


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

Since I was standing further back, I focused solely on the couple and recomposed the frame to put them towards the bottom half.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

The couple

Equipment &

Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 11-24m f/4 L
1/500 @ f/f/4 ISO2000 WB-10000K

The way the EXIF is written out follows the common photographic method (with the inclusion of White Balance at the end). Here it is broken down:

Shutter Speed @ Aperture ISO White Balance.

Light & Weather

Since we were in the slot canyon, it’s tough to know and remember exactly where the sun was at as I’m not even sure which direction we were actually facing. However, the opening of the canyon broke off to the right of the couple which means the light was falling onto them from that direction. This is also why there is light on the left side of the wall and not on the right.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

My editing for this image was pretty light and minimal. The light in the photo was really soft and nice which made the straight out of the camera image look really good! A few slight hue/saturation, curves & color balances adjustments and that’s about it.

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Editing Software
Adobe Photoshop


The slot canyons can be very tight and narrow. Shooting with a 35mm lens just isn’t going to really capture the true feeling of what it is like to be standing in these canyons. Whenever I go to shoot in a slot canyon, I rent the Canon 11-24L lens so I can shoot super wide. However, then that means the lowest f/stop I can shoot at is f/4. And the slot canyons are a pretty dim place already.

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Basically this meant just shooting a few extra frames to make sure I was getting stuff in focus. To compensate for the higher aperture, I shot with a higher ISO in order to keep my shutter speed at a reasonable level.

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Location Name

Slot Canyon

Location aDDRESS

Page, Arizona

Loation Type



United States

Never let low-light situations deter you from trying out a location to shoot in. Even a little pocket of light can work out and can make the photo fun to look at.

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