Originally published Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at 10:30a.m.

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — While Grand Canyon residents sit dreaming of monsoon weather, Suzanne Mathia makes her way to the South Rim. Mathia teaches photography classes, rain or shine but on this day, she is hopeful for rain.

Monsoon storms are highly anticipated in northern Arizona, and students from all over the state arrive right on-time for the Grand Canyon Conservancy’s Monsoon Photography course.

Each year Grand Canyon Conservancy Field Institute offers a selection of photography classes by top notch photographers.


Students learn photography skills during photography classes on the South Rim put on by Grand Canyon Conservancy. Suzanne Mathia has taught photography classes for the eight years. She taught two sunrise and sunset sessions this year at the Canyon. (Terri Attridge/WGCN)

Mathia is well-seasoned in capturing the canyon and is known for her work that has been featured in Arizona Highways.

“My very first award winning photograph was of Havasu Falls in the Havasupai Reservation, which lies just outside the boundary of Grand Canyon National Park and the second was from the old Navajo falls which was sadly destroyed in the big floods of 2008,” Mathia said.

Mathia said she felt drawn toward Arizona and decided to move to the state in the early 1990s. Since then, she’s hiked Arizona’s trails, been on several river trips and enjoys the Canyon from the rim.

“I love the early morning well before sunrise when it’s just me and my camera along the rim, with no one around just the sounds, smells and sight of the coming dawn. If you listen carefully you can hear the river,” she said.

Mathia’s photography classes consist of two sunrise and two sunset sessions.

One bit of advice she reiterates throughout the class is, “Don’t be lazy.” In order to take sunrise photos, students gathered themselves at 4 a.m.

On one afternoon of the class, the monsoon weather was so productive, that students skipped their break time, staying out all afternoon to watch clouds roll over the Canyon, changing its appearance quickly over a short period of time.

With Mathia’s instruction students learn to take photographs and also how to professionally edit the photos. Mathia is a certified Adobe Lightroom instructor and teaches students many advanced editing skills specific for landscape photography.

Mathia said through her experiences she has found a genuine love for teaching.

“I was encouraged by the folks at Arizona Highways photo workshops,” she said. “I waited a good year and sat on the idea until I felt I was ready. Once I started teaching workshops, I realized that this was something I was good at and most importantly what I loved to do.”

More information for those interested in classes and in Grand Canyon is available at https://www.grandcanyon.org/classes-tours/classes. Those interested in landscape photography classes in Northern Arizona can visit www.sedonaphotosym.com for The Sedona Photography Symposium Aug. 18-29.

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