As the camera shutter fires a few frames, Wendi Poole darts around Laity Lodge’s artist workshops, chatting with guests. All the while, she immerses herself in the moment, taking in the scene and deciding how she wants to illustrate it. It’s a balance of warm hospitality and focused creative effort that comes from a wellspring of experience. Oh, and the photos are also fantastic.

Wendi Poole has been the photographer of many, many Laity Lodge retreats. Her goal? Sending you back.

“I want guests to look back and go, ‘Oh my gosh, I can hear that music playing. I remember what the river smelled like and sounded like.’”

Wendi’s method of taking photos usually involves capturing these moments on her Nikon D810 digital camera. Sometimes, however, finding these unique moments requires unique equipment, so she tows around a luggage cart stacked high with large boxes. Inside, a host of vintage cameras from Polaroids to her 4×5 Omni-View Monorail Camera have one more benefit: curiosity.

“Anytime I bring out one of my cameras that’s novelty, I get people come up and talk to me about it … I mean, most of the memories I have around the Lodge revolve around people. … It’s kinda why I love doing this kind of thing.”

Wendi also never plans too much for her work toward finding these moments at Laity Lodge, opting instead to embrace the spontaneity of a Lodge retreat.

“Coming to Laity Lodge without any kind of expectation and without any kind of plan allows you to experience the beauty. I want guests to be open for what God wants to tell them … it may just be a small but impactful conversation around the coffee pot.”

At her best, she captures the moment when a guest experiences the subtle power of Laity Lodge: discovery, rest, insight, spontaneity, welcome. Then, back home, guests can relive the moment through her art and find themselves back in a similar spiritual space that they experienced in the canyons of the Texas Hill Country.