Posts about babies and children - Divine Reflections Photography Blog

Phil, Nancy, and Kiddos

Of the numerous blessings that God has so graciously given to me, this family will always be at the top of the list. Almost 13 years ago I met two people who would be used to forever change me: Phil and Nancy.

  • Beautiful.
  • Passionate.
  • Teachers.
  • Loving.
  • Hilarious.
  • Patient.
  • Gracious.

These are but a few of the words that I would use to describe them. No language contains words profound enough to describe the depth of my love and indebted gratitude for all that they have blessed me with over the years. Watching their family grow to include 4 precious and marvelous children is simply sweet.

Phil, Nancy, Hannah, Caleb, Caitlyn, and Noah, we adore all of you! Thanks for allowing us to hang out with you for the day; we had a blast.

Caleb

Noah

Hannah

Caitey

Phil and Nancy: Still Lovebirds after 15 Years

Posted by Crystal on April 9, 2008 at 11:00PM.

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Lucy's First Year Slideshow

If you've been following our blog for a while, you have watched Lucy grow up over the past year. I have finished designing the Baby's First Year album containing Lucy's pictures. Her growth is amazing, and Lucy is just beautiful. Here is a slideshow of the album.

Posted by Crystal on April 2, 2008 at 12:20PM.

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Isabelle - Face #36

So precious and sweet, Isabelle has an amazing spirit. She embodies the joy a child can bring and the joy of which all of us need to be reminded. Precious and loving, she brings hope for the future of the children of Chico.

Thanks, Isabelle, for reminding me about the beauty in the little things and to never stop being curious. We love you!

Posted by Crystal on March 17, 2008 at 11:15PM.

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Fish Family Fun

Greg Kissing Bennett

Crystal adopted Matt as her big brother when they attended college together in Kentucky. Matt married the lovely Catherine, and the Fish family moved to Colorado and had 4 children. Crystal and I have talked many times about visiting the Fishes, but we've never had the chance because the trip is so long. When we realized that Colorado is only a day's drive past the town where we would stay in Utah, we jumped at the chance to add a few days to our trip so we could visit Matt and Catherine and finally meet their kids.

We only spent two days with the Fish family, but we enjoyed ourselves ridiculously. We laughed more than we've laughed in a long time, we had a picnic on the lawn, and we drank coffee and had meals together. Mostly, though, we just enjoyed getting to know the new, enlarged Fish family a lot better. They are a great group of people to hang around and chat with.

Matt and Catherine, thanks again for letting our clan invade your house for a few days. You were gracious hosts, and we enjoyed our time in your home immensely.

Emily and Samuel Tackling Greg

Madelene Carrying Emily

Mommy's Feet, Son's Feet

Sisters

Fishy Love

Playing in the Yard

The Fish Children

Here are some gratuitous portraits of the Fish kids. Aren't they all just adorable?

Madelene

Samuel

Olivia

Bennett

Posted by Greg on March 12, 2008 at 8:00AM.

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Kate

Recently, we took a trip to Utah to see Rachelle. Our car decided that it needed a two-day rest break, so it broke down as we were pulling into Elko, Nevada. (We'll post more about that trip a little later.)

While we were waiting for our car to get fixed, we wandered into the Perri Duncan Gallery to look at some of the wonderful Western watercolor paintings. True to form, Crystal immediately noticed the tiny baby asleep in her seat. We struck up a conversation with the artist, and Kate woke up a few minutes later. Her mother walked in, and Crystal asked if she could take a few pictures.

Well, a few pictures turned into a full-blown photo shoot. The shoot turned out to be the most exciting thing that we did the entire time we were in Elko.

Chloe, thanks very much for letting us photograph you and your daughter. Perri, thanks for joining in, and thanks for sharing your art with us.

Posted by Greg on March 10, 2008 at 8:00AM.

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Lucy - One Year

It is hard to believe that little Lucy is already 1. It seems like just yesterday that she was born. Here are some pictures from her last photo shoot and her birthday party. Soon her Baby First Year Album will be completed. We hope you enjoy your pictures, Summer and Josh. We love you guys. :)

Posted by Crystal on March 9, 2008 at 7:00PM.

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Aria - Face #27

This is my newest little friend, two year old Aria. While at a local park I watched this precious little girl carefully decide on the area of the sandbox in which she would play. As she surveyed the sea of children, she noticed a pair of unattended shoes that another small child had hastily thrown to the side and forgotten about. Her brow furrowed in concern as she carefully picked up the two shoes, carried them to their owner, and placed them back down at his feet. She fully expected for him to be as concerned as she was that he have his shoes on! It was so precious, and it was a perfect example that serving and making a difference truly knows no age limits. Thank, Aria, for playing with me, letting me take your picture, and giving me your precious "I love you."

Posted by Crystal on March 8, 2008 at 10:14PM.

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Seth - Face #13

Meet Mr. Seth, a young man of many talents and incredible verbal skills. He can be seen chatting it up with neighbors or other kids, desiring to help, or just having some fun. Seth is a great athlete, and he has a real knack for helping with the neighborhood pets. Most enjoyable to this photographer is his sweet and hilarious explanations and friendly advice. Seth, you are a remarkable young man whom we greatly enjoy; thanks for giving me a few minutes of your time.

Posted by Crystal on February 23, 2008 at 8:00AM.

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Emily

Crystal grabbed this photo of Emily during the shoot with Lauren, Jared, and Gary. She's so adorable I just had to share it!

Posted by Greg on January 1, 2008 at 1:32PM.

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Flower Children

This Christmas, we decided to do things a bit differently from years past. We decided that every gift we gave for Christmas had to be made by us instead of just being bought. The thought was to give of ourselves and our talents instead of only our money. I had no idea how much time it would take me to put everything together; things got a bit crazy. It was totally worth it, though!

I decided that it would be fun to take some nice pictures of my brother Gary's children as his Christmas gift. The session was top secret and required crafty scheming by my mom and me, but we pulled it off. Being difficult in ways that only family can get away with, my nephews made the session one of my most challenging yet. When it was all over though, we ended up with some really great images! Thank you Lauren, Jared, and Gary III for helping me make this year's gift to your dad special. We love you guys!

Gary

Gary

Jared (laughing because Lauren almost fell on her butt)

Jared

Lauren

Three Siblings

Lauren

Posted by Crystal on December 29, 2007 at 4:45PM.

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Emily's Third Birthday

Emily, The Birthday Girl

Our baby has turned three! It's hard to believe that the tiny, fragile child that came into our home just over two years ago could have turned into the beautiful, happy child that we see today, but that's exactly what happened.

Emily's birthday celebration actually started a few days early. Rather than try to hide the birthday bike that we bought her, we just gave it to her. Crystal assembled it, and then we showed her how to push the pedals and ride around the driveway. She's not quite a pro yet, but she's learning quickly.

We made the day of her birthday all about her. She got to pick the activities and foods for the day. After breakfast and some playtime, she asked for a bath in mommy's oversize tub with Mommy. Once everyone was clean, it was time for lunch. Emily announced that she wanted "chit-ten nuddets" (chicken nuggets). Off we went to Wendy's.

After the day's errand and dinner were finished, Crystal's family started to arrive. It was party time! The princess cake was cut, and ice cream was served. Emily and our foster son blew out the candles, and then it was time to open presents. Emily discovered a movie, a sticker book, and some clothes. What excitement!

Happy birthday, Miss Bug. :) Daddy loves you!

Riding the New Bike

Tub Smooches

Ariana the Videographer

Princess Cake

Blowing Out the Candles

Eating Cake

Opening Presents

Book of Stickers

Posted by Greg on December 3, 2007 at 5:00PM.

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Lucy - Nine Months

Time really is a strange concept. At times it seems that it could not move slower, and then there are the times it seems to warp by.

We have now warped into little Lucy's 9th month of life. Lucy was such a blast to work with during this session. Her beautiful smile, sweet eyes, and fun loving personality really made the time fun. I continue to be amazed at the connection between Summer and Lucy; they have such a beautiful bond. Even Karis joined in. She helped with the pictures by getting her little sister to smile. Lucy is no longer bothered by my camera. In fact, a few times she was ready to grab it and start shooting pictures herself. :) It seems like just yesterday that Lucy was not even able to hold her head up, and now she sits by herself and is working on the whole crawling concept. The first year of life is incredible.

Thanks Summer and Josh for allowing me another opportunity to capture some moments in your lives. I am already looking forward to our photo session when Lucy turns one. I hope you enjoy your pictures. I adore you all!

Posted by Crystal on November 25, 2007 at 11:30AM.

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Baby Amore

Amore is a perfect name for a very lovable baby! I got the pleasure of taking a few pictures of sweet little Amore recently, who is only 4 months old. He absolutely stole our hearts and was a blast to photograph. I would like to give Dalane, Amore's mommy, a special thanks for bringing her son in for me to meet. Amore is very blessed to have such a loving mommy. I hope you guys like the pictures!

Posted by Crystal on October 8, 2007 at 9:00PM.

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Lucy - Six Months

It is amazing to me how quickly time flies! Little Lucy is already 6 months old, and I got the pleasure of hanging out with her and her family recently. We decided to try a different setting since Lucy is a bit older, so we went to the park. Summer is such a great mom, and even made putting sunblock on Karis seem fun.

All three children had a blast. Ethan perfected the art of rolling cars down the slide, Karis enjoyed the jungle gym and slide and Lucy enjoyed playing with her mommy. It is always a pleasure to hang out with the Price family. I hope you guys enjoy the pictures.

Posted by Crystal on September 11, 2007 at 1:30PM.

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Lucy - Four Months

It is hard to believe that Little Lucy is already 4 months old! Lucy is so adorable and has the expressions and personality to prove it. It took Lucy a little while to warm up to the idea of a photo shoot, but soon she was giving me the awesome expressions she is famous for. Mommy and Daddy took turns with Lucy, and even big brother Ethan got in on the fun this time. Josh (daddy) delighted us with super yummy chocolate cookies that rocked! We had a blast. Thanks Josh and Summer; enjoy your pictures!

Posted by Crystal on July 5, 2007 at 8:00AM.

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Swimming at One Mile

One of the best features of Chico is Bidwell Park. One of the park attractions is the Sycamore Pool, which was built to turn the creek into a public swimming area. Last weekend, we took the kids out for some fun in the sun. We swam, we had snacks, and we had a great time. Ariana ran into one of her friends from school, and she joined us for a while. Crystal even took the camera into the middle of the pool to take a couple of pictures of the girls in the water and jumping into the pool. Here are a few of the pictures from our little excursion.

Posted by Greg on June 5, 2007 at 11:10PM.

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Rachelle and Sara

Rachelle recently found out that her good friend Sara will soon be moving away and asked me to take a few pictures of them together. How could I refuse my oldest? So we started off taking a few shots next to some neat murals and moved to the park and the water (at the girls' request) to have some more fun. The girls had a blast, and we did too! We even ran into our very first foster daughter while we were there; it was good to see her again too. Sara and Rachelle, we hope you like your pictures. Here are a few of our favorites. We will miss you, Sara!

Posted by Crystal on May 29, 2007 at 11:30PM.

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Our Girls - Easter Pics

Ariana

Emily

Rachelle

Now that we can post pictures of our kids, I'm going to periodically go back in time and show some of the pictures that we have taken of our girls over the last few months. So, let's take a step back to Easter Sunday.

As we like to dress up a little more than usual on Easter, we bought our girls new spring dresses. It was a good excuse to take them out and create a few portraits. Here are our favorites from the day. Aren't the girls just beautiful?

Posted by Greg on May 21, 2007 at 6:45PM.

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Cheyenne

Recently my niece, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law came to Chico for a visit. Cheyenne and our daughter Emily are great buddies and truly enjoy their time together. I promised Cheyenne and her parents that I would take some pictures of her for a birthday present. So, while they were here I took advantage of my opportunity. Cheyenne is sooooooooo precious and sweet! I adore my darling niece! :) Richard, Trish and Cheyenne, I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Posted by Crystal on May 7, 2007 at 8:30PM.

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Rachelle and Ariana Adopted

The day after I returned from my trip to North Carolina in the fall of 2005, I got a phone call that would forever change my life. My wife was calling me at work to inform me that she had agreed to a short-term foster placement of two teenage girls. I was in shock; I couldn't believe it. We had just accepted the placement of Emily and her two-year old sister a couple of days before. We also had another teenage foster child that had been living with us for eight months. And to top it all off, we had just been forced to request that our foster agency move a twelve year old girl that was incredibly difficult to handle.

We were very wary of having teenagers, so Crystal made the social worker promise that the girls would absolutely, positively, under no circumstances, be left in our home for more than a week. They assured us that they would be able to find them a more permanent place in that time, and that we wouldn't have to worry about having them in our home long term.

Given that promise, Crystal went to the agency to pick them up. She took one look at them and fell in love. About three days later, we knew we wanted to adopt these girls. So much for only having them for a week!

The last year and a half have had more than their fair share of ups and downs. But I'm thrilled to report that we finalized our adoptions of Rachelle and Ariana this morning. We now have three children that are legally ours!

Girls, I love you so much. You brighten my life every day that you are a part of it. Both of you are bright, extremely funny, and a blast to be around. Thanks for letting me be your Dad! And no, the week isn't over yet, and it never will be.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of Rachelle:

And here are some of my favorite pictures of Ariana:

And, finally, here are a couple of pictures of the girls together:

Posted by Greg on May 1, 2007 at 11:00AM.

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Lucy - One Month

I absolutely love these kids, and I can't help but smile when I'm around them! The photo session started off with Ethan asking to have his picture taken, and I couldn't resist the pleas of such a handsome guy.

This was little Lucy's second photo session, and my how she has grown! Watching children grow has to be one of the most amazing experiences that one can have in this life. During the shoot, Karis woke up from her nap. Daddy delighted both Ethan and Karis with a pizza that they greatly enjoyed. And of course, I couldn't resist getting at least one shot of Karis as well.

While Daddy entertained the kids with food, Mommy helped us finish up the photo shoot with Lucy. We had a blast, guys, and we hope you enjoy your pictures.

Posted by Crystal on April 25, 2007 at 6:45PM.

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Ethan's Birthday Party

Recently we had the pleasure of attending the 4th birthday of one of our favorite little people. We had a blast and just had to shoot a few shots of the party's events. We still aren't sure which was a bigger hit, the yummy food or the bouncy balls! Either way the kids had a really great time. And before leaving our Emily insisted on kissing her little friend Karis bye-bye. :) Happy 4th Birthday Ethan! We love you!

Posted by Crystal on April 23, 2007 at 11:45PM.

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Emily's Adoption Finalized

I was sitting at my desk at work when Crystal called me with the news. I couldn't believe it; all I wanted to do was cry as a flood of emotion washed over me. These were happy tears though -- tears of joy and relief. You see, Crystal and I were on a journey that had begun nearly five years before when we were living in Kentucky, a journey that had been filled with pain and roadblocks. It was our journey to parenthood.

About a year after we got married, we decided to throw away Crystal's birth control pills and have a baby. So, we threw away the pills, but no baby came. Month after month passed, and Crystal still wasn't pregnant. So we started going through test after test to see what might be the problem. Finally, we discovered that the problem was with me. None of our doctors could explain exactly what caused my problem, but they told me that there was no way that I could father a child.

At this news, our world fell apart. We found ourselves broken, spending the next several years asking why. It is one of the most difficult things we've ever had to go through.

In the meantime, we started to look into adoption as a way to have the children we so desperately desired. We called the California state adoption agency, and they told us that the best way to adopt through them was through the foster care system. We had told ourselves that we would never become foster parents because of all of the horror stories we had heard about people in the system. Nevertheless, we found a foster agency in Chico and started the long approval process. A few months later, we met our first foster child.

In the year that followed, six other children came into our home and then left for one reason or another. At the beginning of October 2005, I took a week-long trip to North Carolina to spend some time taking landscape photos. In the middle of that trip, Crystal called me to tell me she had accepted a foster care placement of two girls: a ten month old and a two and a half year old. One of those girls was Emily, and she has now been living with us for a year and a half. In that time, we've fallen madly in love with this sweet, intelligent, little girl.

Now let's return to the phone call at the beginning of this story. Crystal called to let me know that we had received a date for the finalization hearing for our Emily's adoption. The hearing took place this morning. We finally have a daughter that we can officially say is ours!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of my youngest baby. Emily, I love you with all my heart, and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life being the daddy you never had before you became my daughter.

Posted by Greg on April 2, 2007 at 12:00PM.

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Karis

Last weekend we had the privilege of joining some friends of ours in celebrating their son's birthday. While at the party, I captured this picture of their adorable daughter.

Posted by Greg on March 25, 2007 at 8:00AM.

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Lucy

Have you had the pleasure of knowing someone that inspires you to be a better person? Well, our friends Summer and Josh definitely fall into that category. We have the honor of calling them our friends, and it truly is an honor. Part of being friends means being there for each other through the joys and trials. Summer and Josh have shown us what it means to be amazing friends. They have seen us through some of our darkest hours.

Recently we had the pleasure of sharing in their joy at the birth of their precious baby girl, Lucy. She must be the most bright eyed newborn we have ever seen. Perfectly formed and sweetly beautiful, we got to meet her at just 6 days old. Summer and Josh patiently allowed us the fun of photographing little Lucy. We are totally in love! Isn't she beautiful? Thanks Summer and Josh for allowing us to hang out and capture some of little Lucy's first moments. We love you, and we hope you like the pictures! Congratulations, Summer and Josh!

Posted by Crystal on March 2, 2007 at 8:00AM.

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Gary

The other day I took Gary out to find some nice locations for pictures. So many bushes and trees were in bloom, and I had to take advantage of that. He was a great sport and hammed it up nicely for the camera. He was pretty excited about having his picture taken. He has an awesome smile, doesn't he? It was a bit challenging to catch the light in his eyes though, because he naturally squints when he smiles. I think the highlight of the afternoon for Gary was climbing into trees. All in all it was a lot of fun. Thanks, Gary, for being so fun to photograph! I hope you enjoy your pictures. Here are a few of my favorites.

Posted by Crystal on February 27, 2007 at 8:00AM.

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Josh and Ethan

Our friend Josh and his son Ethan were over at our house a couple of months ago for our daughter's birthday party. I grabbed a couple of pictures of them while they were outside hanging out.

This photo uses a new film/developer combination for me: Kodak Tri-X film and Ilford ID-11 developer. I love this look!

Posted by Greg on February 19, 2007 at 8:00AM.

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In Memory of Ashley and Bethany

I've been away from this weblog for quite a while due to a crazy turn in my life. In March, my wife and I found out that we were pregnant with twins. Everything was going well until the beginning of July when the water bag for one of the twins broke at 17 weeks gestation. My wife was immediately put on bed rest in order to try to prolong the pregnancy as long as possible. We were hoping that she would stay pregnant until at least 24 weeks, the mark at which babies are considered to be viable and have a chance at survival, and hopefully for much longer than that in order to give the babies the best chance possible.

Things went fine for almost 5 weeks. Then, at just short of 22 weeks gestation, she started having contractions. Our first twin, Ashley Faith Coates, was born a few hours later. Ashley was simply too small to survive. She lived about twenty minutes before her little heart stopped beating.

Surprisingly, as soon as Ashley was delivered, my wife's labor completely stopped. This is very uncommon, so she was kept in the hospital for a week while she was given antibiotics to try to wipe out the infection that had probably started her labor the first time.

My wife stayed pregnant for about a week and a half before she started bleeding profusely and got a fever. She was transferred to a hospital in Sacramento, where the doctor's determined that she was septic. They immediately started giving her antibiotics and induced labor. Our second twin, Bethany Grace Coates, was born not too long afterward at 23 weeks gestation. The doctors worked diligently to keep her alive, but she had an infection herself, and she was not responding to treatment. She breathed on her own for a few minutes before her little body succumbed to her illness. The lived for about half an hour before she passed away.

Our little daughters will forever be in our hearts. We love them with everything that we are, and we miss them terribly. This post is in memory of their short, brave lives.

Ashley Faith Coates

Bethany Grace Coates

Posted by Greg on September 11, 2006 at 10:00AM.

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Walk in the Park

One afternoon, I decided to take a walk in Lower Bidwell Park. I noticed this scene with the road and fallen leaves. The two girls walking in front of me added just the visual interest that I felt the image needed.

Posted by Greg on February 7, 2006 at 7:30AM.

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Handprints

Here's an image from a children's session. Two sisters were playing in the sand, and they left their mark behind.

Posted by Greg on February 3, 2006 at 3:29PM.

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Hands and Handprint

Here's an image from a recent set of photos I took of a couple of my kids. It was created with my Nikon F100 and 50mm lens on Kodak T-Max 400 film.

Posted by Greg on December 12, 2005 at 10:03AM.

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Changing Directions

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about where I'd like to see my business go and how I want to get there. I've decided I need to make some changes to the way I'm doing things now. While the end goal is still to make a living selling nature prints, I need to take a realistic look at how I'm going to get to that point. Building a portfolio of nature photos and marketing those photos is a very long process, and I'm finding that it's almost impossible to do it in the time I have available right now. (I'm a Dad, and I work full time.)

So, I've decided to change the main focus of my business for now so that it can be more profitable. My second photographic love after nature is children. I've been taking pictures of children for years, and I think I have a unique style that will be very marketable. In a nutshell, my plan is to offer free portrait sessions to a handful of my family and friends so that I can build a portfolio. (I have a lot of photos of my foster kids, but I can't do anything with those due to privacy laws.) Using that portfolio, I want to build a brand for myself as a lifestyle children's portrait photographer. Hopefully, in a couple of years, I'll be able to have that as my sole source of income. In the meantime, I'll also be working on my nature portfolio as time allows.

Posted by Greg on November 28, 2005 at 5:10PM.

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Portraits of Cheyenne

A little over a month ago, I got the opportunity to photograph my new niece Cheyenne. I put some Kodak T-Max 3200 film in the Nikon and used available light to make a series of images. Here are a few of the best ones:

Posted by Greg on May 30, 2005 at 3:17AM.

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