DSC_0482Msml[1].jpgI grew up in Arizona but I haven’t lived in the state for more than 10 years. I moved back over the summer while my husband is on his tour of duty in Iraq. He is also an Arizona native. I’ve been interested in photography since 2007 when I had a little point-and-shoot Canon camera. I purchased my first DSLR in January of 2010 and it’s been difficult at times to learn about this skill. I’m a strong believer in learning from others as much as you can and I’ve been fortunate to meet many talented people that have helped me as unofficial mentors.

I’d planed a trip to visit the Northeast corner of Arizona during the Labor Day weekend in early August. I waited to start organizing the trip until a few days before I left and while looking for things to do in the Page area, I learned about the Antelope Slot Canyons. I was pretty excited that I’d get to visit this amazing canyon during my trip.

Initially, I was really apprehensive about going to photograph the canyon. I just upgraded my camera a few months ago and I’m still learning how to use it. I also bought a tripod a day before setting off on my trip. Couple that with my lack of experience in photography and I was afraid I’d be disappointed with my photographs. There is nothing worse of seeing something beautiful and being unable to capture it with a camera. Even so, I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to visit and try my luck.

The canyon really is spectacular and picture-perfect. The colors are breathtaking and there is so much to see. The only negative is that it was difficult to maneuver around the canyon with all the gear because we were being careful not to scratch the canyon walls.

About half-way through the tour, our guide rushed us into the large chamber with the other photographers to capture the beam of light. Everyone else was being cleared of the area so we could get clean shots. There were many of us huddled together that we were shoulder to shoulder. Some of us were sitting in the sand while others knelt over their cameras and tripods. Everyone was trying to get the perfect shot. I remember feeling like I would never capture anything good because there so little time before the beam disappeared. Not to mention we weren’t allowed to move because we’d be in someone’s way.

It took me a week after getting back to work up the courage to open the folder with the pictures I’d taken. Slowly I weeded out the bad photos and only worked with the best. I was very shocked to see a few decent images with the beam of light. I couldn’t believe the response I received from the Flickr community with this photo. It was overwhelmingly positive.

When I read about the photography contest, I couldn’t help submitting my photo and hoping it would do well. I’m humbled that so many people voted for the image that I won the October contest. I’m very happy indeed!

By: Karla Velasco