Thursday, March 5, 2009

A nice write up in the local paper........................

2 Valley residents' photos in 'Geographic' book
John Stanley

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 4, 2009 07:19 PM

Arizona is renowned for its stunning landscapes, National Geographic for its stunning photography. So maybe it's not surprising that two photographers who earned top honors in National Geographic's "Visions of Paradise" photo contest are from Arizona. Contestants entered more than 2,700 images of places that represent their idea of paradise. Photos submitted by Suzanne Mathia and Tom Prezkop, both of Scottsdale, were among the top 20 selected by National Geographic judges for their creativity, technical skill and composition.
Mathia won for her shot of the blue-green waters of Havasu Falls; Prezkop for his photo of colorful reflections on Oak Creek. Each will receive a copy of the book "Visions of Paradise," released last fall. Like the other 18 winners, their copies will be customized with their own photographs on the front cover. Although contest organizers were pleased with the large number of entries, they were even more gratified by the quality of photographs they received, according to Holly Saunders, a marketing manager with National Geographic. "There's a lot of talent out there," Saunders said.

Havasu Falls
Although Mathia, an insurance underwriter, had been interested in photography since childhood, she never had much time to pursue it. About seven years ago, though, she enrolled in a photography workshop sponsored by Arizona Highways. "That really reignited my interest," she said. Last spring, she and several friends made the long hike down to Havasupai with the sole purpose of shooting as much of the Grand Canyon oasis as they could. For three days, they were out before dawn, balancing on travertine rock and waiting - sometimes for hours - for just the right light. "It turned out to be a lovely shot," she said of the photo she decided to enter after learning about the contest. "But it's hard not to get a good shot at Havasu." "For me, it was never a question of winning," she said. "This was my vision of paradise and I just wanted to share it."

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