to see more photos from this saturdays event, you can visit the rock website or go HERE
Energy. Happiness. Love. These three words summed up my session with the Mendoza family on Monday. They harbored so much affection for one another and joy poured out of their smiles like rivers! Arlette and Jesus looked adoringly at each other as their little ones ran around the field, trusting that they wouldn’t go too far. Sure enough, Sofia and Alex came sprinting back, laughing and rolling around in the grass. This family truly knows how to have fun!
I was happy to join in! I found myself laughing with each click of the shutter and I thanked God for such an enjoyable experience. I love it when families invite me into their world and for just an hour I get a taste of who they are. Sofia was sweet and giggly, Alex was a clown and goofy, and Arlette and Jesus still share that puppy love for each other. They were a beautiful family.
I pray that God continues to bless the Mendoza family… that the sun always shines this strong in their lives and in their hearts. Thank you Lord for Jesus who serves our country and for Arlette, Alex and Sofia who sacrifice him being away.
I love LOVE. Sometimes I think God created me to be over-emotional for a reason and sometimes I think He challenges me to overcome the obstacles that stem from being too emotional…but there is one place that emotions are permitted to run rampant- a wedding. In fact, it’s encouraged! Needless to say, I feel comfortable there.
It’s at weddings that I can be me. When I shoot them I have to constantly remind myself that I’m there to work and that I wasn’t invited as a guest! But it’s so hard to separate myself from their dream, their journey, and their love story, especially when their love… is rooted in Christ.
Knock, Knock, Knock! TJ Sinsay gently pounded on the door to Leslie’s apartment where the girls were getting ready. Surprisingly, I was able to meet him there at 7:30am… which in my world doesn’t exist because I haven’t seen the morning dew or smelt the scent of a new day for as long as I can remember. But I’m glad I did. Thank you TJ for allowing me to co-shoot this wedding with you! It was a blast!
One by one, her eager bridesmaids scurried into her apartment to prepare themselves for the big day. I recognized some of them from The Rock and found comfort in their familiar faces. But nothing soothed my nerves more than their conversation. If only I got a nickel for every time I heard the Lord’s name while I was there! These girls were incredible. They truly love Leslie and you could tell that they wholeheartedly supported her commitment and new chapter in life! My favorite part of the entire day was when the girls prayed for Leslie right before she walked down the aisle. Not only did the prayer leave no dry eye in the house… but it also spoke to me and how I want my future wedding to be. Lord, please send me more women like these. Women that can surround me on my wedding day, shower me with Your love and pray for my everlasting marriage…
Leslie was radiant. She glowed with anticipation for the moment when the double doors opened to reveal her soon-to-be hubby, Ace, waiting at the altar. All morning, she spoke of him, smiling as she shared the blessings that God has bestowed upon their relationship and how thankful she was that He provided everything they needed during their wedding planning. It was wonderful to see God’s fingerprints on her heart and on their wedding day. It made me excited to meet her lucky groom too!
I met Ace when we convinced him to do some portraits with the bridesmaids, but I didn’t get a full grasp on WHO HE WAS until the toasts were given after dinner. One after the other, someone stood to proclaim the impact that Ace had had on their lives. They boasted that they were extremely proud, that they were amazed at his Godliness, that they were inspired and encouraged by him and that they grew deeper in their faith just by knowing him. As I stood along the wall, listening to these praises, I was fascinated that at 20-years-old, Ace really had it together.
The rest of the day was just as beautiful as the beginning. I was blessed by the whole experience. I love that God can shine through a couple like this. I love that God’s gift of marriage is a metaphor for our relationship with Him. I think all weddings should be like theirs…effortlessly glorifying God by the mere act of loving each other the way that Christ loves us! Congratulations to the newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. McClaron!!
Yesterday, the team and I went to the Del Mar Fair to just relax, fellowship and do what we love to do, take pictures! I also brought along my friend, Danielle, to teach her a little bit about photography and she did a great job and learned really quickly! The day went so smoothly, starting with Mike’s awesome work benefits which included free parking right in front of the gate, free admission and great box seats at the Lonestar concert. It was such a blessing to have him there! Plus, he carried my bag around when my shoulders started to hurt! You should have seen his relief when he realized it was a masculine camera bag and not a frilly pink purse.
But the boys weren’t getting off THAT easily… as soon as we got into the fair, I dragged them to the Home and Garden building to take pictures of flowers. Brother Joe headed for the massage chairs, but I ended up getting some shots of award winning foliage!
After the concert, we headed out to take pictures of the lights in fun zone. As Danielle said, “it’s so fun because you never know what you’re going to get!” I definitely agree. I think it’s like Christmas morning and each click of the shutter is Santa Clause in my chimney. Full of surprises, some worked and some didn’t. Here are a few that did…
As we left the fair, exhausted but satisfied. I couldn’t help but thank God for the team and for these opportunities to spend time together. I missed the people that couldn’t make it but I know that we will shoot together in the future and I look forward to that day!!
Lately, I’ve been praying for God to put me in different situations where I can minister to others, bless others, pray for others, and share the Gospel. Since then, I’ve been finding myself unexpectedly coming across people in need and God whispers in my ear and says, “Here you go.”
Tonight, I walked into the room where we have our Military family portraits to find Brother Joe, Lisa and Trevor sitting with the Jordan Family. Little did I know that I was about to do their portrait session. I was planning on just sitting back and relaxing but God and Brother Joe had other plans. In the end, I was blessed to shoot Gabriel, Becca, Claira, and Tyler. I was both surprised and pleased because I recognized Tyler from my Pebbles class. He often sits on my lap during large group and his thing is that he always puts his name tag on his belly and likes to hide it from the teachers!
Thank you so much Gabriel for serving our country! It is undeniable that you love your family and I hope these pictures bring you as much joy as it was for us to capture them!
Tonight was the first night in a long time that I’ve been able to go to the Wednesday night photo class that the team puts on. A year ago, I was a student of this class with a newly purchased DSLR with no idea about how to attempt digital photography. Though I was trained in film and darkroom, I thought the digital realm was so intimidating and the cameras had too many menus and too many buttons. I still have yet to master the machine but I’m so blessed that there are classes like these that are not only FREE but very informative.
I remember being so frustrated last year on the fourth of July when I tried to photograph the fireworks display at Huntington Beach. The number of successful shots I got? Zero. So this time, as everyone was quietly and studiously adjusting their settings with each frame, I was shrieking in excitement because I actually got a shot that worked! I don’t think I would have ever accomplished this without the help of Brother Joe and Jim tonight. Thanks guys!
Sometimes I get so locked on one thing and forget to do something as simple as LOOK AROUND. Lisa was sharing her shots with me and I loved one of them because there were so many reflections on the water. When she told me it was the other side of the bay, I thought “duh…” but that is just a reminder that we’re always a step or a turn away from a better image. Don’t forget to look up, or down, or all around…
This was one of my favorite images of the night because I think the clouds form the shape of a bird. I would like to think it’s a dove… and my good friend The Holy Spirit. 🙂
“The Heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove…” Luke 3:21-22
I was asked the question, “What would Jesus Shoot?” by Brother Joe, the leader of the Photography Ministry. After a lengthy discussion, we came to the conclusion that Jesus would shoot as an act of service. He would offer his gifts to bless those that needed it the most. I’ve wanted to develop a project for a long time in which I offer free senior portraits to high school seniors who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get them done. The main reason for this is because I was one of them. When I was in high school, the cheapest senior portrait package was $250. Being a girl from a single-parent family, it seemed like an unnecessary luxury. Even though I really wanted them and I cringed with envy every time my friends gave me a wallet of their portraits and I couldn’t give them one of mine, I didn’t want to put undue financial pressure on my mom.
Keranisha is involved in the Milestone House program which offers on-site tutoring, educational therapy, reading enrichment programs, independent living skills training, and individual career counseling for at-risk teens. It was an honor to serve and do what I love while giving her these memories she can keep forever. We had a lot of fun taking pictures of her along the boardwalk of Oceanside Pier and she was effortlessly photogenic!
I dropped off some prints and a CD of images for her a couple days ago. As she thanked me relentlessly, I realized that this really is what Jesus would shoot. He would want to bring the smiles to their faces, warm their hearts and just plain bless them!
I am currently looking for more high school seniors that are in a federal or state funded program, foster youth program, are homeless or are part of a low-income household. Please contact me at email@example.com if you are interested or would like to nominate a program or individual for my project.
Jim, Mike and I had the pleasure of shooting the Rock University Benefit Concert featuring Natalie Grant, Britt Nicole and Phil Stacey. The three of them were a wonderful team of performers and their worship was engaging, enticing and entertaining.
I have had Britt Nicole’s song, “Set the World on Fire”, in my head since the concert and I wouldn’t be surprised if most of my neighbors heard me bellowing the song through my windows yesterday. I love the lyrics and I think they reinforce my desires to serve as I continue to volunteer as a Rock Photographer:
I, I am small but
You, You are big enough
I, I am weak but
You, You are strong enough to
Take my dreams
Come and give them wings
Lord with You
There’s nothing I can not do
Nothing I cannot do
I wanna feed the hungry children
And reach across the farthest land
And tell the broken there is healing
And mercy in the Father’s hands
Take my dreams
Come and give them wings
Lord with You
Nothing I cannot do
Nothing I cannot do
My hands my feet
My life, my love
Lord, use me
I actually went to the church on Monday to shoot the Prayer Week event but when Trevor reminded me that it was Military Monday, I went early to see what they do. When I got there, I noticed they didn’t have any studio lighting set up so they had to settle for speedlights. Unfortunately, this posed a pretty heavy white balance problem and they ended up shooting mostly in black and white. It’s beautiful to see that even through these challenges, patience and grace prevails beyond the circumstances. The family was still excited to see what images Trevor and Jim were able to capture and they loved the black and white. This goes to show that even though things don’t work out as planned, God always makes a way and can turn a negative situation into something glorious.
This is Ava. She was a little firecracker as most two-year-olds are! Unlike her little brother, Logan, getting her to smile was a little tricky. I managed to get this shot of her while the guys were shooting her parents and Logan. One reason I love shooting in RAW is because this image out of camera was as neon yellow as you could imagine. But Camera Raw 2 fixed it with just a touch of button!
I can’t wait to free up my mondays and continue to serve and bless the military community with these free family portraits. It’s great doing more and more with our gifts to build His kingdom and bring joy in the hearts of these families! Great job to my fellow Rock Photographers!
Yes, that’s me! There I was, excited to declare my faith to my family and friends while trying to hide how starstruck I was to be baptized by Pastor Miles himself. It’s been 10 years since I’ve been to The Plunge and this time, I’m on the other side of the lens. It took me a while to dig up this picture because I wasn’t sure where it could have been. I mean, it had almost a decade to get lost into oblivion. But I was ecstatic to find it nestled in a box under my bed. I hope that one day, someone that got baptized today will find an image that one of the Rock Photographers took and be ecstatic. Ecstatic that we were there. Ecstatic that we caught the moment. Ecstatic that they still had the image, that second in time that they can never get back but it’s saved with one click of the shutter. That’s why we do what we do.
Unfortunately, it slipped my mind to set my camera to continuous drive, but I did manage to capture one man’s whole baptism experience. It’s amazing how much transformation takes place in this one metaphorical act of worship. I remember overhearing one of the pastor’s say, “this water isn’t magical”, and though he is right, it sure felt magical to me! Like the blood of Christ, the water symbolizes the cleansing and renewal of your spirit. When you rise up out of the water, you are no longer the same.
My friend Wilmar Calaguas started a ministry called Leading Lives to Christ that aims to spread the Good News and develop strong and passionate believers through a network of inter-denominational small groups. Tonight, some of the men in this ministry came together to support one another as some of their members were baptized. These men were clearly elated to see the spiritual maturity develop amongst their brothers!
I’ve shot two baptisms and one thing I’ve noticed at both of them is that the 1825 Ministry at The Rock fosters such a solid sense of community and lifelong fellowship. If you’re in 1825 and you get baptized, be prepared to have a circle of friends surround you when you do! I feel so proud of my fellow 1825’ers when I see this. I think it sums up the purpose of why we meet up every week. It’s not just to make friends, but to have those brothers and sisters in Christ to be there when we take steps in our walk. We aren’t supposed to do it alone. We aren’t supposed to carry our burdens alone and we should always have each other in moments like these to celebrate God’s greatness! Here, Jr Ugalde gets prayed for by all those who love him and afterwards they splashed like crazy because they could, God’s love is ridiculous.
“They came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him” – Matthew 28:9
Praise and Worship, musically speaking, has always been one of my most favorite things to do. Even as a young child who loved to sing since I learned to speak, my first time singing a worship song was magical. I remember it was “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” and they had the words printed on paper for us. I took the paper home and I sang it until I memorized it and I sang it over and over again. It was then that I knew I had a heart for worship. But it wasn’t until I grew older and more mature in my faith that I realized worship is much more than singing songs. In church it is a personal prayer and a fervent cry to God through song, but outside the building, it becomes each word spoken, each reaction to everything that happens to you, and the kind of heart you show to those you encounter each and every day. Worshiping God becomes a lifestyle and something that is continuous. It is much more than the 5 minute duration of lifting your hands, bowing your head, and reciting the words displayed on the screen. I love worship not only because the lyrics become my personal prayer, but also because I know my heart sings words that I cannot fathom when I lift my hands up to praise Him and smile knowing that he hears those unsung verses of my heart’s song.
It was inspiring and encouraging being able to witness the work that God was doing in the sanctuary. Because I was shooting the event, I experienced the event from a different perspective. Rather than facing the stage, I mostly faced the church, His people. I saw individuals pouring out their souls to Jesus as they prayed, cried, sang and danced. I love my images of brothers and sisters embracing one another as they both fixed their eyes on Him, I tried my best to capture those moments!
The last image is of three of my friends. I met them at Young Adult Cafe and over the last month and a half we have explored each others’ characters, daily lives, dreams, struggles, and walks with God. I look forward to every Tuesday night because I know they will be there to hear about my amazing week or comfort me if I’ve had a rough week. I love this image because I have a special place in my heart for these three. I suppose it’s because we all share the same heart for Jesus!
to see more pics from Simply Worship please go to Rock photo-galleries
Psalm 8:2 “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger”
About half-way along my one-hour drive to Indian Hills Camp, I thought about what I was about to experience, wondering what kinds of things God was going to show me and I tried to imagine what to expect from the children. I remember when I was in 6th grade and a part of me was anxious at the day to come. I was surprised to find a group of 6th graders who lived in awe and reverence to God! I was especially blessed at the end of Thursday evening when the kids shared about how God had spoke to them individually over the past week. The responses were amazing. They spoke of God’s incredible attention to detail as shown in his creation of different species, the vast power and magnitude of God as evident in the universe and astronomy, and His ability to take a young girls’ insecurities of meeting new people and turn them into the joy of making new friends. I was both astonished and amazed to hear about their experience at camp as life-changing and a mode of building new perspectives. Even at a young age, God can change a life!
“But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 3:4-7 NLT
There’s nothing like the feeling of coming out of the water, cleansed and renewed. Dunk after dunk I witnessed God’s ability to bring pure joy and an astounding hope to those baptized. Smiles were ear to ear, arms were waving and hearts were shouting in victory!
Family and friends were watching and waiting as their prayers were being answered. I was on the verge of tears when a young woman was baptized and her mother hugged her bringing an outpour of emotion between them. I would have shot the moment had I not been so concerned with keeping my composure! Another moment that caught my eye was the love three pastors had for one man. Usually a person gets baptized by one pastor but he got dunked by three! I couldn’t help but wonder, why is he so special? I think I want to get to know him and find out! hahaha.
But nonetheless, the sense of family and camaraderie was overflowing the entire day. This group of friends all got baptized and I could only pray for a solid group of friends like them for my life! It was still such an encouraging place to be, right there amongst my fellow brothers and sisters. I was definitely blessed!
Finally, there’s nothing like some good grubbin’ after publicly proclaiming that Jesus is Lord!! 🙂
I remember the first time I heard “Shout to the Lord” by Darlene Zschech of the Hillsong Worship team. I listened to this album so many times I don’t even think the CD works anymore. I fell in love with the lyrics and the evident passion for worship that you can feel when you listen to it. It rubbed off on me because I learned how to worship by worshiping to their songs. I realized that worship wasn’t just about singing and dancing. Its about making the lyrics a personal prayer and cry to the Lord.
I didn’t hear about the Hillsong United team until about a year later when I saw them in concert in LA. I was blown away because they were kids my age! I couldn’t believe that people my age were so on fire for God! I knew then that I was hooked on their music and I now own practically all of their albums.
About a month ago, I had the flu and I couldn’t make it to church one Sunday. It was the same Sunday that The Rock announced that they would be holding a Hillsong United concert and by the time I found out, the tickets were sold out. I was so bummed. But Brother Joe blessed me with the opportunity to cover the event as a Rock Photographer and I was able to enjoy most of the concert after shooting. It was really God’s perfect timing because it was the day after my birthday! The concert was amazing and the best birthday gift! I will never forget it.
If you have never heard the music of Hillsong or Hillsong United, I would strongly encourage you to check them out. You will be blessed! During the concert I was especially inspired by the female vocalist, Brooke Fraser. She quite possibly has the most beautiful voice and is the most talented musician I have seen in a long time. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, this girl could make millions in the secular music industry if she wanted to!” But she chose to use her gifts for God and His kingdom! As a rookie member of the team, I have been thoroughly inspired, enriched, and honored to serve and glorify God with my gifts. Being part of the team definitely has its perks and being able to cover this event was one of them for me, but I always remember to put God in the center of my passion. I know that it’s not all about me and my own experience but what my documentation of the Rock Church’s experience does to convey God’s incredible work on earth.
YOU ARE MY WORLD lyrics
You are my world
You are my God
And I lay down my life for You
You are my Lord
The One I love
No one could ever take Your place
And everything I have
I give to You, my Lord, the One I live for
I live for You
And all my days are gifts from You
I pray I’d use them as You want me to
Use them for you