A pastor photographs Destin

Athena Marler Creamer

Pastor Jim Vail of First Baptist Church in Baker is known by many as a hobbyist-photographer of breathtaking images of Destin. People who live here know it is paradise and Jim has provided photographic proof. This is his first calendar and is dedicated to helping with various expenses of a former hospice coworker who is currently battling with terminal breast cancer.

There is a reason that I call Jim the “Unveiler of Paradise.” He reminds me of Thomas Kincaide, the “Painter of Light.” I don’t know anyone who doesn’t instantly recognize Jim’s images from Facebook and from The Destin Log.

Jim’s calendar, “Unveiler of Paradise. Destin, Florida 2014,” has iconic images of Destin’s beauty captured in a way that is unusually sublime, as if God had a hand on the shutter release button freeze framing the ideal moment of a perfect day. Scenes like these that seem to reveal a bit of heaven are familiar to the residents and long timers who sense something holy and paradisiacal about Destin, and who may celebrate and hold onto those memories as long as they can. The photograph for September is a breathtaking beach scene of unspoiled Norriego Point, the best argument for preservation. 

The pink seascape on the cover reappears for the month of February with the caption, “God paints a divine Valentine for Destin in pearly pink and silver over February beaches.”

We had to be bit late for Christmas giving because Pastor Jim was on vacation in North Carolina taking pictures. But I knew that if we had it finished in January, it would be perfect for Valentine’s Day gift giving.

To Jim Vail, photography is a self taught hobby. Little by little, he began to sign his work and submit it to publications like the National Geographic online. Now his photo of the fishing boat floating on the crystal green water under the Marler Bridge has been immortalized. His work has appeared there as well as on Chinese television and on the walls of Sacred Heart’s new Cancer Clinic.

You can see all of the photographs in the calendar at http://jimvailphotos.blogspot.com. There is a direct link to zazzle.com for ordering. 

Athena Marler Creamer, producer of the calendar, is owner of Heiress Arts Publishers of Panama City.