Beautiful photography — visual psalms — grace the pages of Alive Now both in print and on our website. If you pray with your camera in hand, join our Visual Psalmists group on Flickr. (flickr.com/groups/visual-psalmists/).
Behind the Photographs in the March/April 2016 Issue
Order a copy of the March/April 2016 issue, “Doubt,” by calling 1.800.972.0433. Download the digital edition.
“It was a beautiful afternoon as a group of us headed into the valley for a photo outing. No more than fifteen minutes after we arrived it began to rain. And not just a gentle rain, it poured buckets for about thirty minutes, then a steady drizzle. The decision we faced was to wait out the rain or move on. We waited.
As I walked back to our car, I happened to look up behind me and saw this wonderful fog/mist that had begun to form in the trees.
What had begun with a dismal start turned into wonderful photo opportunities as the warmth of the earth and the cool of the rain worked their magic in all that surrounded us. I go out on photo adventures with an expectation of what I will see. More often than not, I receive gifts that far exceed my expectations if I slow down and pay attention to all of my surroundings.”
– Susan Hay, about her photo on the cover. Susan devotes much of her spare time pursuing her passion and interest in photography, which has increased her awareness of how photography helps us “see God at eye level.” She also enjoys leading retreats and workshops for persons of all ages on photography as a spiritual practice.
“I photograph people in nature and try to show nature’s magnitude and grandeur compared to our smallness. I aim for a metaphor in order to have the image speak for itself. This photo means to say that there are modern-day prophets and we are still in the desert, in the wilderness.”
– Jan Phillips, about her photo on p. 3. Jan Phillips is a writer, musician, and photographer. She is the author of ten award-winning books, which include many of her photos. Jan leads retreats and presentations, which are multimedia, multisensory events that connect the heart and brain. She uses images, music, poetry, and storytelling to evoke deep, nondualistic creative thinking and expression. janphillips.com Jan is cofounder and executive director of The Livingkindness Foundation.
“This photo was taken one icy morning in Kearney, Nebraska, on the edge of town. The ice smoothed the sharp edges of barbed wire and made the cedar trees glisten. The sunrise in its pretty pink and peach hues on such a gloomy, harsh morning reminds us that there is hope. Even in the darkest days, the Creator is still creating. Warmth and light will come again, and life will be renewed.”
– Barbara Bennett, about her photo on pp. 10-11. Barbara is an amateur photographer living in Gladstone, Missouri. She often carries her camera on morning walks to capture the reawakening of life in the sunrise, listening for life lessons from the Creator. Barbara attributes her love of nature to growing up in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Sand Hills of western Nebraska.
“While on a quest for a snowy wildlife shot, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the snow clinging to the dormant vegetation at Fontanelle Forest in eastern Nebraska. The beauty of the details of the scene drew me in. I had to try to capture that simple beauty in a photograph. Images like this always seem to have a simple emotional message that touches our hearts.”
– Pasquale Mingarelli, about his photo on p. 12. Pat is an award-winning photographer who worked as a newspaper photographer before joining the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ (now known as Cru), where he worked as a photojournalist with their magazine, Worldwide Challenge. He now has a ministry called The Creation Speaks, which explores how creation speaks to our heart, soul, and mind about God. Pat approaches nature as an artist and not as a scientist. He looks at how it touches our soul on a theological level and our hearts through its majesty, mystery, and beauty.
Pat teaches photography at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa; Metro Community College in Omaha, Nebraska; and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. He lives in Bellevue, Nebraska, with his wife, Patti; their two children, Talitha and Pasquale; and their dog, Montana.
“Florida is known for its beautiful, sandy beaches that stretch for miles and miles. Don’t go there hoping to find boulders and rugged outcrops. Except for one spot. I wanted sunrise beach pictures with rocks, so it was off to Blowing Rocks Preserve. My son and I planned the trip so that we would arrive just before sunrise. The preserve doesn’t open until 9:00, so we had to go to a county park about a half mile down the shore and walk back up the beach. We walked past the darkened beach houses and hotels, and I wondered if anything all that rugged awaited us. As we got closer, we could hear the water ramming up into the rocks before we could see it. We started taking pictures as the sun came up. I came away with some good shots, but what I will remember best was just spending time with my son, enjoying God’s creation.”
– Kevin Main, about his photo on pp. 14-15. Kevin is a landscape photographer whose photos have appeared in a variety of places, from scientific journals to religious publications to art fairs. His love of God’s creation is also beautifully expressed in his children’s book, I See You There: My Father’s Love.
“I was vacationing in Northern Maine at a friend’s camp on Carabou Lake. It was a rainy day, and we were stuck indoors for a while. So I took this photo toward the lake through the trees.”
– Dan Wray, about his photo on pp. 24-25. Dan teaches religion, philosophy, and English at the college level. He also serves as pastor of the Presbyterian church in Badin, North Carolina. He lives on a farm in the Piedmont of North Carolina with his wife and two daughters. See some of Dan’s work at his website: danwrayphoto.com.
“This image was taken at Mauldin Gardens in Clarkesville, Georgia, near where I live. I believe it is a crabapple tree bloom. I volunteered in the garden in the spring of 2015. Malden Gardens is a quiet refuge I return to again and again to wander, take photos, and pray. I’ve started creating a series of ‘Layers of Life’ images taken in the gardens.”
– Marie Nease, about her photo on pp. 32-33. Marie is a six-time award-winning member of the Roswell Photographic Society. Her expertise in photography is mixed with a passion that can’t be tamed. The love of photography spans multiple generations in Marie’s family. Marie has published articles and short stories and enjoys expressing herself through creative writing and poetry. Marie is a mother of four wonderful young men and grandmother to six. She lives near the mountains in Cornelia, Georgia. Visit her website, wingdreamer.com.
“The old dead tree is right behind the learning center at Archbold Biological Station, where I work. Before the buildings were completed, we burned the area under the tree to reduce the amount of burnable fuels close to the building. My executive director made it clear that she didn’t want the tree to get killed by the fire. We were very careful to make sure the fire was low intensity around the tree, and after the burn we put water around the base of the tree to limit smoldering. We did a good job, and the tree was fine. But God had other plans. About a month after the fire, lightning struck the tree and killed it. I guess God was saying we should go ahead and plan things and do things to the best of our ability, but always remember that God makes the final decisions.”
– Kevin Main , about his photo on p. 36. is a landscape photographer whose photos have appeared in a variety of places, from scientific journals to religious publications to art fairs. His love of God’s creation is also beautifully expressed in his children’s book, I See You There: My Father’s Love.
“Seth (the man in the photo) and I crawled out of our tents well before dawn arrived at the San Isabel National Forest in Colorado. We hiked a half mile down from our campsite to the shores of Turquoise Lake. There we watched and photographed the predawn sky light up. Soon after, the light began to hit the mountains across the lake. I photographed both the predawn show and then the light hitting the mountains. To create a little more human interest in the image, I asked Seth to go stand on the rock. The result was this photograph of a man contemplating God and the beauty before him.”
– Pasquale Mingarelli, about his photo on p. 37. Pat is an award-winning photographer who worked as a newspaper photographer before joining the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ (now known as Cru), where he worked as a photojournalist with their magazine, Worldwide Challenge. He now has a ministry called The Creation Speaks, which explores how creation speaks to our heart, soul, and mind about God. Pasquale approaches nature as an artist and not as a scientist. He looks at how it touches our soul on a theological level and our hearts through its majesty, mystery, and beauty.
Pasquale teaches photography at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa; Metro Community College in Omaha, Nebraska; and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. He lives in Bellevue, Nebraska, with his wife, Patti; their two children, Talitha and Pasquale; and their dog, Montana.
“Several photo friends and I traveled one day to a small town in Tennessee to photograph an old, abandoned hotel. The hotel was at one time on the edge of the U.S. frontier and a staging ground for soldiers on their way to fight on the New Orleans front in the War of 1812. The long-vacated place was filled with intriguing remnants of a former age. If only walls could talk.”
– Sharon Brown Christopher, about her photo on p. 48. Sharon has resumed her interest in photography (first sparked in the age of Brownie box cameras) with the open space and time that comes with retirement. With photography as an expression of her Christian practice, she seeks to see as God sees and to invite others through her photographic images into seeing God’s presence in all of life. Rooted in Nashville, Tennessee, she is honing her vision and skill through ongoing study and adventures launched with camera in hand.