harnessing the power of photography for good


Baptism :: Sharing the Moment!

Baptism at De Anza Cove, Mission Bay in San Diego.

MOTR Annual Retreat :: Baptism

6 men stepped up to declare their faith in Christ publicly. the water was cold but it couldnt dampen the spirits of the men who wanted to get baptized.  brother will shared from Gods Word and pastor ronnie had the honor of baptizing the men.  God is moving up at camp…praise God!

Rock Baptism:: Mo’s Story

It was an overcast day at Mission Bay Park as Mo and his wife prepared for Mo’s baptism. Mo, not a Christian, had been going to church with his wife for many years at their former church in El Cajon. They decided to go one Sunday to the Rock Church, that was four years ago and the Lord used Miles to speak to Mo’s heart and soon after he put his faith and life in Jesus care as a new believer.  Four years later Mo made the decision to publicly express his love and commitment for Jesus in baptism here at Mission Bay!

Mo now ministers at the Rock in two different ministries as the Lord uses him to glorify God in his life!  I always love taking pictures at baptisms; it’s so exciting to see God’s sovereign handwork in His children’s lives!

Praise be to Jesus!

to see more photos from this baptism please visit our gallery site MISSIONfocused.smugmug.com

Rock Baptism at De Anza Cove

Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” -Luke 9:23Arlene and Terry

This is exactly the verse that comes to mind whenever I see people getting baptized.  I was so excited to come out and witness my sister in Christ, Arlene Martinez and her husband Terry get baptized in De Anza Cove last Monday.  I first met her at the Rock Spiritual Wellness Ministry and immediately fell in love with her authentic heart for the Lord and her willingness to serve Him in her life.  Here are a few moments that I was able to capture of them:

if you want to see more photos of those who were baptized

please visit www.MISSIONfocused.smugmug.com

Rock Baptism at De Anza Cove

the rock had their 2nd baptism of the summer at de anza cove on beautiful mission bay.  the water was nice with a slight overcast and folks wanting to proclaim publicly their faith came to get baptized in front of family and friends.  i dont recall how many baptisms we have been to as a family of photographers but i think its safe to say weve been to almost every one the rock has done.

mark, raquel and i were on hand to document what God was doing…we hope to have more photos and personal stories to share from this baptism soon…

for now you can visit our facebook page to see a few more photos by going HERE

 you can view photos on the rock website www.sdrock.com or

on our MISSION focused photo gallery site www.missionfocused.smugmug.com

Rock Baptism

Gathering for prayer before Baptism

A group of the baptizing team praying together.

Lisa hugs newly baptized Irish & BriannaThree generations of women baptized together; LaJuana, Irish & Brianna

The husband was baptized first while the wife and their two little kids watched from the beach, then the wife was baptized.

A congratulatory kiss for her Navy honey

WOW! Rock Surf & Miracle 139 Beach Outreach

i have family and friends with special needs kids…and i have had the honor of shooting events with luv em up (special needs ministry at the rock) in the past.

a night to remember

in the past 4 weeks i got to help document “a night to remember” and the rock surf & miracle 139 beach outreach for special needs kids.

the island praise & dance ministry performed and tim shared the Good News of Jesus for those who were attending and those who had stopped to watch.  they also had a time for those who hadnt been baptized to proclaim their faith in Jesus publicly….then it was time for surf lessons!  how cool was it to see everyone helping these special kids experience the fun and joy of surfing…everyone was blessed!

to see more photos from the event please visit the

MISSION focused FB page HERE

foto peeps…fun at the beach: learn on the fly

we will be at the beach this wednesday, sep 1st.  meet us at la jolla shores at 5pm, as we join our photo friends at horizon north county to help document their summer beach baptism.  photography is fun, and learning to photograph at the beach as the sun sets and people are getting baptised…is gonna be fun and a blessing.

all are welcome, so bust out the slippas and lets go praise God as folks profess publicly their faith in Christ!

if your interested in joining us, please email us at photoministry@therocksandiego.org

dunking aint just for donuts & cookies…rock baptism at the plunge

its was another great turnout at the plunge on friday nite.  baptism after easter are always packed, with folks declaring publicly their faith in Jesus by being dunked.  as malia mentioned, its not about the water, its about what the water represents.  those getting dunked are saying they belong to Jesus!  and getting baptized is a way to publicly associate themselves with Christ’s death and resurrection, symbolized by the act of getting dunked.  but theres more time for the whole theology of baptism later…for now its about what God did on friday nite!


more family

it was like a feeding frenzy on deck…the team looking for the shot before getting into the water.  in the picture you can see ( l to r) terry, dieter, lisa, and malia.  i couldnt resist getting into the action.  this baptism was the first for dieter and lisa, both new to the team.  we are very excited for the new folks.  for those counting, thats 2 more canon shooters!



i took a pic kinda like this at the plunge back in 2002 or so… its all about family and community.  as the rock continues to grow, its gonna be even more important that we are surrounded, like this picture, by family and friends that care about and for us.  i especially like the fact that their friends are taking pics however they can.  cell phone cameras and little point n shoot digital cameras…capturing the moment!  thats what were all about.


Baptism at The Plunge

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!

men pray

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.


Rock Baptism

Once again the Rock Photographers are blessed to be able to be in the water at the plunge while people come forward to show there faith in water baptism. there are many great shots that I got I can only show a few. I hope that you all can see your own pic. it was great being there with you all as you showed your faith in public.
it great to see what people friends faces look like when they see thre friends get dunk

Rock Baptism @ The Plunge

Baptisms are my favorite event to cover for Christ.  Seeing people make their first public declaration is exciting and makes me feel like I did when I was first baptised.  Not that my fire for Him has ever dimmed, but it moves me in a way to do more in my life after seeing those that are new to Him.  That look that you see in their eyes that everything is new is often seen in children but you can see it in adults as well during an event in their lives such as this one moment when they are reborn.

Not everyone is called to baptism though and it is not a requirement.  I witnessed a situation this evening that didn’t surprise me but did remind me that baptism is a calling not just a date in passing.  Growing up as a Catholic, you are generally baptised as a very young child.  I was but I don’t remember because I was only a few weeks old.  Obviously too young to even know what decision was being made for me.  Now there isn’t a specific passage that I can quote that explains the age of consent but I do know that it is different for everyone.  Baptism is not a requirement but when in our country it is so easy to declare that He is my savior, why would you not do it.  There are places in this world that baptism would result in you being hunted down and destroyed for proclaiming your belief in Jesus Christ.  Today I celebrate those that declared their faith and new path in life.  This is your new birthday and I am sure God is smiling at His children of all ages that have come home.  Happy Birthday!!!


Jim Wanglund

Rock Photographer

Baptism @ The Plunge

I love baptisms! There is nothing more significant than watching someone make their declaration in public that they have given their life to Jesus. That declaration is a commitment that won’t keep them from sin or death but it will prepare them for everlasting life in heaven as well as putting them on the path to serve Him. A step of faith is symbolized by immersion in water and is not a requirement. I always marvel at how it represents our trust in Him. We close our eyes, lay back in another persons arms, and then let them dunk us. We do this with eyes closed and complete trust that we will surface again to take a breath. This is how we should also live our lives by trusting that God will always be there for us when we are in need. This is why I love baptisms so much. For me besides capturing these moments through photography, it reminds me that I need to have that same trust in Him.

Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In Him,

Jim Wanglund

“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!

pink smiles

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!! 🙂



Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 

Proverbs 3:5-6


Team Effort

mikey in action

the rock had their summer baptism last weekend at mission bay, crown point.  they have thankfully moved the baptism away from the ocean, yippee!  no waves to knock the shooters over, just a few wakes from tow-boats and sea-doos, nothing to worry about.


malia, trying to stay out of the picture

jim, up out of the water for air…daniel in the background shooting some “hang time!”probie (aka raquel), our newest shooter on the team

this was the first baptism that i didnt get all the way into the water, cant remember last all church baptism that i didnt get close to the action.  part of my decision not to get wet was the number of shooters we had on saturday.  there were 8 of us from the team, plus 2 folks who are thinking about joining us.  all in all, 10 shooters, yielding around 3200 pictures.  so with that many shooters, i figured i would just chill, and shoot from the shoreline.  it was tough at times, not being so close to the dunking action, but i was able to enjoy the view, and shoot some of the celebration happening on shore. 

i pulled some of the pics that we all took of each other, cause thats what we do, we shoot.     blessings!

diana, not part of the team officially, serving & testing the waters…

terry, trying to blend into the crowd…

mark, another shooter whos thinkin about joining the team

full service photographers, we shoot & dog sit!

blending in…

Rock Baptism at Crown Point

Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.  (Matthew 3:16)

Jesus did it to fulfill all righteousness.  I can refer back to the time I was first baptized.  I knew it was time.  It was finally time to publicly proclaim my faith for all the world to see that Jesus was what makes me right in the Lord’s sight.  It was a joyous occasion, with my little sister also choosing that day to be baptized.  Years later, witnessing baptisms still gives me that same affect.  You can’t help but to smile and share that same joy when someone comes out from under the water and into God’s light.  You can witness many silently praying before being baptized, while others chanting “Jesus!”  However way anybody chooses to be baptized, the Lord knows our hearts and intentions and loves us just the way we are uniquely created to praise Him.

Therefore, whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.  But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.  (Matthew 10:32,33)

I almost got dunked along with them (sigh of relief!), but what a wonderful set of friends this girl had!!  Nothing but cheering and encouragement for this sister in Christ!

Salt of the Earth

John 18:36 – Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

We all have experienced moments in life where we knew we were right, despite the opposition of many. God gives us comfort in the fact that we are not of this world, that we are to be the salt of the earth. As a Christian God calls us to go against the majority and be the one who stands up to deliver the minority report when others who despite knowing the truth choose to look away.

I am proud to say that I am a Nikon shooter in a Canon ministry. I am a chiefs fan in a town proclaiming the chargers. I march to the beat of another drummer. Yet God has brought me into this ministry to be a witness to my brothers. We all have sinned and fallen short, so who am i to judge?

I was blessed to shoot the recent baptism. God reaffirmed me with my Nikon decision. A lot of water was splashed around, yet my camera stayed dry. I quickly went to the aide of my fellow shooters and helped them dry off their inferior equipment. God has called me to serve.

And in that moment when all others were wiping off their cameras, God gave me a glimpse through my lens into his eyes.

And so I fight on.

This is my camera.

There are many like it, but this one is MINE.

 My camera is my best friend. It is my life.

 I must master it as I must master my life.

My camera without me is useless. Without my camera, I am useless.

 I must shoot my camera true.

 I must shoot slower then drive by to save money on memory cards..

 I must get brother Joe to join Nikon. I will...

 My camera and myself know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire,

 the noise of our bursts, nor the smoke we make.

We know it is the memories captured that count. We will capture...

My camera is human, even as I, because it is my life.

 Thus, I will learn it as a brother.

 I will learn its weaknesses (very few unlike canon), its strengths (many, unlike canon),

its parts, its accessories,its sights, and its lens.

I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage.

 I will keep my camera clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready.

 We will become part of each other. We will...

 My camera and myself are the defenders of my country.

 We are the masters of our enemy.

So be it, until there is no enemy, but PEACE.

I don't think Jessica Alba is ugly.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I listen to Taylor Swift, 

and yes, I am Iron Man

Taking the Plunge

baptism last friday was a blast.  the plunge is nice since you dont have to worry about waves knocking you over, or the slimey muddy bottom of mission bay.  the only thing you need to worry about is other photographers getting in your shot, wildly enthusiastic friends (who are in the water) of those getting baptised, and the mass of folks coming forward to declare their faith in Jesus publically.
we had 4 of us in the water( driveby jim, trevor, mikey & me), 1 half in the water( jasmine, w adam playing lifeguard),  1 high and dry(terry), and 1 off duty shooter under the water w his bride (daniel & vaness).  this is the most shooters weve had in the water,
or even near the water.
but what was more impressive was the platoon of pastors in the water, 14 total, plus 2 on dry land.  
despite the crowd of paparazzi and pastors, people still got in the water to get dunked for Jesus. 
baptisms are always a blessing, and an honor to be part of. 
to see more pics from the spring baptism, please visit the rock website

The Rock Baptism at The Plunge :: 04:03:09

Being baptized is a public declaration of one giving their life to Christ after accepting Him as your Lord and Savior. Adam and I were baptized together a couple of years ago and being able to witness many others giving their public declaration was an amazing experience – especially when it’s your closest brother and sister in Christ, the Galangs. I have long wanted to help photograph a baptism event, but for whatever reason or excuse, I haven’t been able to get to one. I find it mildly amusing that the ONE time I actually went was the same date that Vaness and Daniel chose too.

It was an honor to be able to capture this moment for the many people that made their declaration along with the other Rock Photographers. Not being able to swim makes me nervous whenever I have to be in the water. Luckily, it was the shallow end of the pool and 3 feet is not as high up on me as I thought it was. Being closer to the ground at 5 feet 2 means that shallow ends of the pool might actually go up to one’s armpits and being super clumsy like me, being in water WITH my camera is not a good combination. That’s why I had my loving husband help me out to make sure that 1) I did NOT fall into the pool and 2) that I did not drop my expensive camera into it either. He really needs his own “Spouse of photographer” support group. I am almost positive that “preventing wife and camera from falling into a pool” is not written into the duties. 😉

There were many more pastors than attendees so the baptisms actually went quite fast and it was difficult to try to capture everyone that was in the pool. Here are some of the shots that I did manage to capture:


Mike Clark provided worship before the baptisms.


The pastors praying beforehand.















Pastor Ricky’s son was baptized this day as well. He’s such an amazing kid. I so look forward to seeing what God does in his life as he grows up.






Vaness while Daniel was being baptized.



Rock Photographer (Jim) in action.


More Baptism Stuff

jasmine posted pics from fridays baptism on her blog…go check it out


Baptism @ The Plunge

Baptism is a Christian’s first declaration of their faith in public. With all of the baptisms that I have experienced throughout my life none have been as significant for me as when I joined the Rock. Yes I was baptised in the very same pool that I am now shooting.

I have covered a few other baptisms with the Rock Photographers but this was my first where I brought my camera into the pool. All I can say is what a blessing that was for not only those proclaiming their faith but for me as well. It reminds me of Pastor Steve Brown and how he taught me to feed myself and to grow as a Christian. How he took the time to listen to me and to take me out of my comfort zone. He really challeged me to become a better Christian.

So back to the present… here I am in the pool and capturing all of these new born again Christians realizing how far I have come in such a short 3 years. That moment when you are giving your testimony and praying with a pastor in the pool is so amazing. The emotion of it all is really easy to get caught up in but our ministry is to capture that moment to remember for all time. Watching all the newly proclaimed in faith emerge from the water with an amazing look of hope and happiness is truly a work of God. It makes me realize how special His unconditional love is to us and how thankful we are to have a life reborn in Him.

In Him,

Jim Wanglund