We received more than 1,700 submissions to our 2019 The American Landscape Photography Contest. The following slideshow displays our 25 finalist images, as well as the three winning shots!
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Photographer: Craig Bill
Description: I’ve seen Antelope Canyon several times in the popular daytime—complete with crowds and noise. In fact, this magical slot canyon is well known for its midday shafts of light that creatively penetrate through the curvy sandstone. I had always wondered what this place would be like at night. And when I had a last-minute chance to go the first time around, I jumped! Although the first night’s attempt was super cloudy and windy, I was able to try the next night before my time ran out exploring this desert domain around Page, Arizona. I was lucky, however, to find the next adventures lacking clouds or wind. Finally, there I was, standing in the dark cracks in the earth with the stars peering in from above—no crowds or sounds at all. It was so different at night compared to the day. Here, star and moonlight ricocheted softly around the Navajo sandstone. In this completely dark corner of Upper Antelope slot canyon, I softly light painted strategic areas of the canyon with small red LED lights. The red color of the LEDs forced the camera’s color balance to expose the sky with a vivid blue. Along with long 15-second exposures and light painting, an image of silence and quiet serenity is enshrined with soft moonlight cascading down into the subterranean sandstone world. Even though I was focused on tweaking the camera's settings and position, I was warned to watch my standing area and the canyon walls for huge brown recluse spiders (as one ran under my tripod). Now, this sounds like a place in hell for most people, but I couldn't be more grateful for the night hike experiences into Antelope Canyon.
Gear & Settings: Sony A7RII, Rokinon 14mm. Exposure: 15 sec., ƒ/2.8, ISO 1250.