Logan Canyon serves as backdrop for images of Christ
As a Cache Valley native, I was always drawn to the mountains.
During high school I would drive my family's “big green” suburban up Logan Canyon, and from there, would find a trail to explore and experience on my own.
Looking back, it probably wasn’t the safest idea, but it’s there I learned to love nature and photograph the natural wonders of the world.
While serving an LDS Mission in Quito, Ecuador, from 2010-2012, I worked under the direction of a spiritual giant, President Bruce Ghent, as his secretary.
As secretary, part of my job was to pick up the new missionaries that arrived at the airport and take them back to the mission president's home to enjoy fresh pizza from Papa John’s, before leaving to the field with their new companions.
After serving the new missionaries and satisfying my hungry stomach, I stumbled upon the life changing works of Mark Mabry in his book, “Reflections of Christ.”
I remember being glued to every page, and feeling the Spirit testify of the divinity of the Savior’s role as our Redeemer.
Such images changed my life. After finishing the book, I knew I wanted to photograph the Savior, but how I saw Him.
In Luke 5:16 we read, “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”
I have often wondered what that looked like. What did He pray for? What did He do? If I were to stumble upon Him, what would it look like?
Such thoughts began to carry my wild imagination into the wilderness so to speak, and I pictured the Savior praying and pondering in the places I loved to visit most.
Though it has been almost 10 years since I last visited Logan Canyon, I still remembered the places that had a lasting impact on me as a teenager.
One of the most memorable spots was Tony’s Grove. It was there I found a lonesome rock in the middle of the forest, and immediately knew that this is where we needed to be.
Frost dusted the ground and cows mooed in the background, but after saying a short prayer, the Spirit immediately filled our hearts with inspiration. All was silent.
The cows stopped mooing, the chipmunks stopped chirping, and the gates of Heaven opened as we began to photograph what Luke described, “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”
Such an experience changed my life, but it wasn’t until several hundred pictures later that I took an image that touched my soul in ways I can’t explain.
We began to leave the woods, making our way towards the lake, when we stopped again at a different spot to continue photographing Him praying.
The moment and light was beautiful. I began with a very wide shot of him kneeling down and looking towards the sky, but as I moved closer, I began to loose sight of our model and rather saw him as our Savior.
When I looked at this image on my computer, the Spirit said to me, “this is Him.”
Tears filled my eyes with joy. Never in my life have I felt closer to the Savior, and I felt as though I was looking right at Him.
His eyes full of compassion, love and faith as he “lifted up his eyes to heaven (John 17:1).”
The moment the shutter clicked, I knew it wasn’t me taking the picture, but rather it was Him standing right beside me.
My hope and prayer is that these images will bring about the same experience as I had, and put you in the moment as if you were standing next to Him.
His life and His love are a testimony that we can all change, and that through Him, love, peace and hope can fill the empty voids in our hearts.