Big Sandy from a Photographers Perspective

Last week was momentous. I had the privilege of traveling down to the annual ATI Regional Conference in Big Sandy, TX, fully equipped Some wild flowers along the road on the trip down southwith laptop, camera, lenses, and necessary accessories to document the week-long event. I didn’t go as a student, but rather as a commissioned photographer on assignment. For years, an opportunity like this was something I had only dreamed of doing, because to personally own enough quality equipment to successfully shoot something like this would cost years of savings. However, because God led me to work here at the IBLP Headquarters, I was able to use my department’s equipment for this venture.

I am a Canon shooter, not a Nikon user. I feel a whole lot better shooting with Canon when I’m under pressured situations because I simply know how it works and can make it do what I want without much thought.  However, the equipment I used was Nikon. At the beginning, this concerned me because I knew it would take some time to learn how to use it smoothly. Often, the perfect picture is completely One of those situations where you only have a limited amount of time to get a good picture.missed for the simple reason that it took too much time to figure out how to capture it. So, with that in mind, I decided to let God take care of those situations and not worry about it because I knew I was where God wanted me to be. Coincidently, God allowed me to shoot Canon for the first few assignments! How? Somehow, another photographer heard that I was not shooting Canon for lack of professional quality lenses, so she offered to let me use her L-series, 70-200mm IS lens! I did learn to use the Nikon system for the rest of the week, but having a Canon to shoot with at the beginning was indeed a blessing.

One event in particular stands out as a highlight of the Conference. On Friday, roughly 120 men assembled in an upper room of a library for the morning Father’s Meeting. This meeting was special in that afterward an anointing service was planned (Hebrews 6:1-3). I did not want to miss this historical event. And it was Neglect not the gift that is in thee by the laying on of hands.historical indeed! About midway through the service, we were interrupted by news that two tornados were heading directly toward us. Instead of being deterred, we cried out in one accord as a group for God to redirect the tornados. The thunder was deafening, the rain torrential, and the wind terrific, but we were not effected by any tornado. The service continued as before. To be in an upper room with over 120 dedicated, faith-filled fathers with a rushing, mighty wind outside, was indeed an experience I will not soon forget!

For most of the week, from Tuesday afternoon to Saturday evening, there was almost always the need for a photographer. Choosing carefully what I shot and keeping the needs of the Graphic Arts Texas friends.Department in mind, I shot around 3,000 images. It took all day Monday and Tuesday to process them. As I look back, I can see that there is so much more to learn. The week wasn’t without it’s embarrassing moments, memory lapses, corrupted CF cards, and missed opportunities.  But the effort put into the work was worth the results. In serving the Lord, I gained much needed experience and I feel I was able to fulfil the assignments that were given me.

The Children's Institute had to of been the most enjoyable program to coverThe International ALERT Acadamy, the campus where the Conference was hosted.ALERT Cadets in session.





Look for more pictures of the momentous occasion in the May 2008 IBLP Newsletter.


  1. Jenny WIlkes May 10, 2008 at 4:07 pm #

    What an outstanding overview!! Reading this post makes me even more excited about the upcoming conference in Nashville, Tenn.
    James you really got some great shots there! You sure captured the excitement and joy that is brought by brethren dwelling togther in unity.

  2. Michael May 12, 2008 at 10:46 am #

    What an experience! Great things God has done and is doing! I understand the tornados took an unusual “C curve” around the whole campus. May those winds be a forshadowing of what God will bring about through the lives of each family as a result of the conference.

  3. James May 18, 2008 at 8:26 pm #

    I’m looking forward to the Nashville Conference, too. I think I’ll be focusing more on family relationships than photography.

    God truly did bless my efforts at Big Sandy as the Institute used many of the pictures I took. I am amazed how God is using the skills He has given me for use in this ministry.

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via email.