Epic photo-shoot helps put 2016 in perspective

The Campbell family December 27, 2016

“Don’t be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me. My Father’s house has room to spare. If that weren’t the case, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? When I go to prepare a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me so that where I am you will be too.” – John 14:1-3

I’m going to make an outlandish claim this morning… but I believe it’s justified. Here goes: The “photo-shoot” I’m sharing today comprises what are likely the best images I’ve captured in all of 2016. I’m only sorry that Rebekah was unable to come along, because having her in the pictures would have elevated them to another level entirely (if you need some Rebekah, there are a few good shots in yesterday’s post – Minions, Boxing Day, and Healing Love).

15676300_10100872115091662_6388435583175154257_oAs it was, Naomi and Craig asked me to photograph the Campbell family out at Wake Forest’s Joyner Park. My mother came along too, and then Naomi grabbed the camera and took a few photos that included me as well.

The conditions were perfect – overcast and a little cool; no harsh sunlight and no hard shadows. Then Naomi let the children run and play between shots. I shoot fast, so there was never more than a minute or maybe a minute and a half of standing around. Click-click-click-click-click, play, run, click-click-click-click, then move on to the next location.

The best part is that you can’t make up the kind of happy you see on the kids’ faces. The smiles are genuine, and the joy just bubbles over and spills out all around them. Obviously, David and Beks have their moments from time to time (we all do!), but these photos really do reflect the truth about our grandchildren.

This is one reason I love the telephoto lens so much – especially for children. You can stand back (unless the kids are chasing you – that’s the next image in this post), and then take in the big picture rather than getting all up in their space so much.


It’s a perspective on life that seems to be a helpful model, too. It’s important to be able to stand back and take in the big picture, expansively, then zoom in to the particulars without losing that sense of scope, and vision, and context.

15781795_10100872120665492_3554728289134012911_nAnd it’s a helpful way for me to think back on 2016, which has – in the particulars – been one of the more difficult years we’ve experienced to date. But here we are, with just a few days remaining, and Rebekah and I can still reflect in abundant gratitude on the all-encompassing blessing of living as God’s children in this place, serving God’s purposes in the context of Wake Forest Presbyterian Church, and having the gift of one-another from day to day.

Enjoy these photographs, these moments… but don’t ever forget The Big Picture, don’t ever forget to see the truth that we are living – both from and in – The Greatest Story Ever Told.

In a sense – and I really believe this, The Great Adventure has only just begun…

Love, blessings, hope, peace, and promise – DEREK

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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