Posts about photos - Divine Reflections Photography Blog

Crystal and Agus: Wedding

Crystal, my wife's best friend, asked me to photograph her wedding to Agus, and I happily accepted. Agus calls Indonesia home, so the ceremony contained a blend of American and Indonesian traditions. It was beautiful, one of the most moving ceremonies that I've ever seen. The bride and groom's love for one another shined brightly throughout the ceremony.

Crystal and Agus, being present as the photographer for your special day was a great honor. I hope you enjoy your pictures.

I'd also like to send out a special thank you to Summer Price, who served as my second photographer for this wedding. She did a great job!

The Rings

Crystal's Beautiful Dress

Agus's Corsage

Agus

Crystal

The Flower Girl

The Ceremony

Agus Washing Crystal's Feet

Slideshow

Posted by Greg on August 13, 2008 at 11:48PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under photos and weddings.

Paradise Ducks Softball

Aurora Pitching

Ariana's good friend Aurora plays for the Paradise Ducks fast pitch softball team. She invited us to their game on Wednesday, and I decided to take the camera. I've never really done any sports photography, so I thought it would be fun to give it a try. It was! Ariana tried her hand at it as well. Here are a few of the images we captured.

Posted by Greg on May 23, 2008 at 6:51PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under photos and sports.

Ariana's Sweet 16 Celebration

Kisses from Daddy

Ariana had a birthday on Sunday. We wanted to make her sweet 16 party special, so we started the celebration two days before her official birthday.

Friday was my day to celebrate with Ariana. She put on her new birthday dress, and Crystal curled her hair and put on her makeup. I dressed too, wearing slacks and a sport coat, and I took her to Christian Michael, one of the nicest restaurants in Chico. We enjoyed a lovely dinner, and then we decided to see a movie. We laughed our way through What Happens in Vegas while the rest of the theater occupants tried to figure out why we were at the movies wearing fancy dress clothes. We completed our evening by walking over to Ben & Jerry's for an ice cream dessert.

Saturday, the major festivities took place. Ariana invited three friends over: Aurora, Lauren, and Kylee. Aurora and Kylee came over early that morning, so Ariana treated them to a pedicure at a local salon while she had her nails done. Crystal spent most of the afternoon styling hair and applying makeup, and then all of the girls put on their fancy dresses. We dined at Olive Garden along with half of the people attending local school proms.

We rushed home, where Ariana opened her gifts from her friends and my family back in North Carolina. She got a new teddy bear, and one of the cards nearly gave her a heart attack when it started playing a song.

Next came the highlight of the evening for the girls. The rented Ford F350 limo pulled up in front of our house, and everyone climbed in for a night on the town. The girls immediately requested to be taken to Wal-Mart so they could buy sparkling cider. Wal-mart doesn't have sparkling cider, so we tried again at one of the local grocery stores. Have procured the beverage needed for a toast, the limo driver took us to a small, bumpy road that offered a stunning view down the hill to the city of Chico. We cruised around downtown, and the girls waved at the college students who lined the streets. We made a stop at Nana and Papa Flower's house so they could see the limo, and then we came back home so the exhausted and happy girls could collapse into bed for the night.

Sunday was Ariana's actual birthday. One by one, her friends filtered back to their families. Crystal's parents, brother, and nephew came over, and we had cake and ice cream. Ariana opened her gifts from Crystal's family, and we finished the night and the three day birthday celebration by watching a movie.

Ariana, you were a beautiful, glowing birthday girl. I'm deeply proud of all you've accomplished in the last year, and I can't wait to see what you do during the next one. I love you with all my heart. Thanks for being my little girl.

Pretty Nails

Aurora Getting a Pedicure

Ariana Being Made Over

Overlooking Chico

Awwww! She Got a Sweet Card!

After the Limo Ride

Gary Stuffing His Face

Kylee Ready for Dinner

Emily Eating Ice Cream

Let Her Be Smeared with Cake

Posted by Greg on May 15, 2008 at 12:20AM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under coates family, events and photos.

Restored Clothing Company: Summer Line

Lori Breaking it Down

Mica and Lori, two of our good friends, own the Restored Clothing Company, a local company that makes some seriously cool clothes that also happen to convey a seriously cool message. They just released their summer clothing line, and they asked us to create the images of the new clothes for their website.

As the models' faces show, we had a great time last weekend during the shoot. Here are a few of our favorite images. To see more pictures or to buy some of the clothes worn by the models, drop by the Restored website.

Posted by Greg on April 25, 2008 at 12:12AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under commercial and photos.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, coates family, families, photos and portraits.

Kathy and Naomi

Good friends are rare. Friends that stay friends for 36 years are rarer still. My mom and her friend Kathy have been friends for nearly 4 decades, and their relationship is still going strong. That they've survived everything that life has thrown at them is a testament to their commitment to one another.

Last weekend, they asked me to take a few pictures of them, and I happily obliged. Here are Naomi and Kathy just being friends and interacting like they have for years.

Posted by Crystal on April 7, 2008 at 11:57PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, photos and portraits.

Robin - Face #40

The journey to motherhood is not unlike a fingerprint; everyone's is a bit different. However, some women face more barriers and challenges during the process than others. Robin is a beautiful, sweet spirited, and passionate mommy of two darling children. What started as one of the happiest events of her life, the birth of her daughter, turned into a battle for her life. After over 30 hours in labor Robin gave birth to a healthy baby girl. That process, however, damaged a main artery leading to her uterus. A few weeks later, Robin underwent surgery and received a blood transfusion that saved her life.

Robin now works at the Chico center for BloodSource working to recruit able donors who are willing to give a bit of their time and a little of their blood so that other lives can be saved as well.

Thank you, Robin, for taking your time to educate me about the need for blood donors and to remind me of how much beauty one person can have!

And if you have not donated blood and are qualified to do so, you really should donate soon. The next person who needs a life-saving blood transfusion might just be you.

Posted by Crystal on March 24, 2008 at 10:34PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Kristina - Face #39

Kristina is my hero for the day. Why? Simply because she is a bearer of wonderful cinnamon deliciousness in a gooey, frosted ring of pleasure. That's right, she works at Chico's new Cinnabon.

Kristina is a Chico native and is currently serving a little bit of pleasure in a bun to the guests visiting the Chico Mall. Kristina is probably left in the shadows of the glorious cinnamon goodness, with patrons taking her work in the process for granted. Ah! But, Kristina, we are so thankful for all of your hard work, even if it does affect our waistlines!

Posted by Crystal on March 20, 2008 at 10:00PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Valerie - Face #38

Some people are pleasant, some are perky, and some are cute. Valerie is all of the above and blushes easily to boot. Valerie has a very important job that many often overlook; she is a photo technician at a local Walgreens. Many hurriedly hand deliver or email their precious memories — caught digitally or on film — without giving the process or the people any thought. Thank you, Valerie, for all that you do and for giving me a few minutes of your time!

Posted by Crystal on March 19, 2008 at 10:38PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Emily - Face #37

Bringing a little bit of Greece to Chico, Emily works at one of Chico's quaint little downtown restaurants called Sultan's Bistro. Emily has kept busy preparing Greek food at this establishment for a little over a year, and she greets each guest with a smile.

Thanks, Emily, for all of your hard work, it is deliciously appreciated!

Posted by Crystal on March 18, 2008 at 10:24PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, babies and children, photos and portraits.

Mica - Face #35

This is Mica, America's next top model. Okay, maybe he's not the next top model, but the fashions he designs would complement any model. Mica and his wife Lori recently launched their clothing business, the appropriately named Restored Clothing Company. They seek to send a positive message with their clothing, which makes them distinctively differently from a lot of fashion companies. In addition, they are donating a portion of every sale to one of several local charities.

Mica, it was great to spend some time with you and your family. Thanks for allowing me the privilege! Here is a slide show of images from your session.

Posted by Crystal on March 16, 2008 at 10:25PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Blayne - Face #34

I found Blayne at the local skate park, one of his favorite places to hang out. He showed me some of his best moves, and he even demonstrated how to fall gracefully.

Thanks, Blayne, for taking time to skate for my camera.

Posted by Crystal on March 15, 2008 at 11:30PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Dave - Face #33

Unless you are mechanically inclined, those like Dave who service our cars for a living are truly a gift. Dave is a husband, father, and oil technician at ProLube here in Chico. Besides being an all around nice guy, Dave has arguably the most beautiful light blue eyes we have seen in the Chico area — their light color even looks awesome in black and white!

Thanks, Dave, for giving me a few moments of your time!

Posted by Crystal on March 14, 2008 at 8:24PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Kendrea - Face #32

Sweet, beautiful, powerful.

Kendrea's quiet but powerful presence helps encourage some of the female population of Chico during their workouts at the local Curves. With Kendrea flashing that beautiful smile of hers, a workout simply could not be dull. Kendrea, thank you for hanging out in the "sweat shop." Your value isn't taken for granted.

Thanks also for posing for a few pictures.

Posted by Crystal on March 13, 2008 at 11:23PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Fish Family Portraits

As a thank you for their love and support over the past few years, we did a family portrait shoot with Matt, Catherine, and the kids. We drove to a remote park with a view of the Rockies. Then Crystal started shooting. Here are the results.

Matt and Catherine, we hope you enjoy your portraits.

Posted by Greg on March 13, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under families, photos and portraits.

Crystal - Face #31

Me.

Chico born and raised. Passionate. Artistic. Broken. Transformed. Flawed. Lover of people. Living on grace. Determined. Verbose. Funny. Traveler. Daughter. Aunt. Friend. Wife. Mother. Photographer.

Posted by Crystal on March 12, 2008 at 11:30PM.

Permalink / Comments (3)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, coates family, photos, portraits and trip reports.

Bernita - Face #30

Some people have a gift for understanding math, for understanding how to teach math, and for being willing to use those skills. That describes this lovely woman.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are the students who sat through hour after countless hour of class just trying to understand the theoretically simple "logic" of adding together letters. That would have been me. But I digress.

While I personally would nominate those like Bernita for sainthood just for their willingness to tackle the aforementioned, others may take Bernita's skills for granted. Bernita is a beloved math tutor and teacher at CORE Butte Charter School. Additionally, Bernita has been described as having a soothing and melodic voice that others enjoy.

Thanks, Bernita, for being willing to tackle a difficult subject while patiently teaching difficult subjects. Ha!

Posted by Crystal on March 11, 2008 at 11:42PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Visiting Rachelle

Meeting Rachelle

Rachelle has been in her residential treatment program for a little over three months now. She's making progress and doing well, so she earned a visit with us. At the end of February, we started the long, long drive to Utah to see our beloved daughter. We barely made it over Donner Pass before snow closed the road, but we sped along the interstate after that. Well, we sped along until we got to Elko, Nevada. As we turned into the restaurant for dinner, the brake light in our new Suburban came on.

Normally, this wouldn't have been too much of a problem, but it happened on a Saturday night. We found a hotel room, and the next morning I called every brake shop in town. Every one of them were closed. We got breakfast at a local coffee shop and then wandered around looking for something — anything — to do. Elko is dead on Sunday. We took some goofy pictures, and lunch, and discovered that the movie theater was open. We spent the end of our day watching Fool's Gold.

The next morning, I found a shop to fix the car. While the work was being done, we had our little impromptu photo shoot with Kate. By the time the shoot was over, our car was ready.

Lunch and Coloring

Tic Tacs

Streeeeetch

Ariana's Model Hair

Mommy Kissing Ariana

Dad Looking Bored

Family Footprints

Later that day, we made it to the town where we would be staying during the visit. The next morning, we joyfully hugged and kissed our daughter for the first time since we dropped her off in November. We spent that day and the next meeting Rachelle's friends, meeting the staff at the Ranch, bowling, shopping, eating "real food", and just hanging out. I'm thrilled to report that Rachelle is improving and is doing the hard work that she needs to do in order to come home.

Rachelle, we miss you and love you, and we can't wait until you're able to come back home again!

Rachelle Bowling

Long Car Ride

Mom Won

Posted by Greg on March 11, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos and trip reports.

Mr. and Mrs. Gambone - Face #29

Having worked really hard to open their first franchise business, Mr. and Mrs. Gambone own the Noble Roman's Pizza restaurant on Mangrove. This tasty little pizza and sub shop has been open since November, and it offers their guests wonderful food and great service. To top it off, the owners are delightful, interesting people.

Thanks for the wonderful meal and for a few minutes of your time!

Posted by Crystal on March 10, 2008 at 11:38PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Rachele - Face #28

Meet Rachele! Rachele is best known for her emotion, loyalty, and compassion. While she pursues her various dreams for the future, she still finds time on a regular basis to help take care of her aging grandparents. Rachele is also known to have great love and compassion for animals of almost all types. :) Thanks, Rachele, for allowing me to share a few photographic moments!

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

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, babies and children, photos and portraits.

Heather - Face #26

Oh, to remember the sweet age of youthful freedom. Heather, merely 18 years old, is enjoying the freedom that has come with her long awaited entry into adulthood. Those sweet soft eyes have seen so much joy and sorrow throughout her years, making them sweeter and more tender still. Her zest for enjoying her freedom can only be surpassed with her anticipation to meet the baby who grows within her womb. In a few short months Heather will meet her sweet first born child. While pondering her portrait I realized that the glow of her own youth still glows faintly on her face. Thanks, Heather, for so patiently enduring my candlelight photography!

Posted by Crystal on March 7, 2008 at 11:30PM.

Permalink / Comments (2)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Pam - Face #25

A hard working woman of many talents, Pam redefines today's modern woman. Having worked at Chico State in a few different positions, she now serves on the functional side of application security issues for the University. She is a mom, grandma, spare time wedding coordinator, tractor operator, coffee drinker, and an 'I can do pretty much anything' sort of woman. Pam is an incredible example in every role of her life. Thanks, Pam, for allowing me a few moments to take a few shots of you!

Posted by Crystal on March 6, 2008 at 11:15PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

OSP West - Napa

Number 90 on my 101 Things list is to attend an OSP event with Crystal. We were blessed to be able to attend the OSP West conference in Napa a couple of weeks ago. We were also thrilled to be able to take Ariana along as she is interested in learning more about photography.

Before I jump into the photos we took over the weekend, I'd like to say thanks to Chris and Jen Stewart, Beth Daane, and Tana Huffman for all of the time and effort spent in organizing this conference. They worked hard to make the conference a success, and I appreciate it immensely!

OK. Now I'll get to the pictures.

Senior Shoot

Saturday morning, we went to the old train station in Rutherford to find a collection of senior girls waiting to be photographed. Nathan Holritz, Kevin Swan, and Shaun Austin talked a little bit about shooting in midday sun and then turned us loose with the models.

Bridal and Wedding Couple Shoot

Sunday afternoon, we met at the V. Sattui winery for a bridal shoot with another collection of models. The winery graciously let us go pretty much wherever we wanted to do. We explored the mustard-filled vineyards and the beautiful architecture of the winery.

Photographers Behind the Scenes

A favorite pastime at this sort of event is taking pictures of other photographers. Some are suitable for blackmail, and others are serious portraits. We took our share of behind the scenes photos on this trip.

Shaun Austin

Kevin Swan

Becky Waurio

Posted by Greg on March 6, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 101 things, bridals, photos and portraits.

Sandy - Face #24

Some beauty only comes as a result of refining fires. This amazing woman chooses to live in the midst of such a fire. Persistent even through limitless sorrow, Sandy pushes on regardless of the obstacles in her path. Her professional life is woven with a blend of joy and sorrow, and she serves some of the most helpless in our society. The coordinator of the Butte and Glenn County Options for Recovery program, Sandy plays a crucial role in helping children from the ages of birth through five years who have been impacted by drug or alcohol abuse.

Thank you, Sandy, for your hard work, but more importantly, thank you for your heart!

Posted by Crystal on March 5, 2008 at 10:15PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Aurora - Face #23

Some young people inspire hope for the future, bringing emphasis to beautiful attributes and amazing compassion. Aurora is among the noteworthy young people who break the stereotypes of today's American teenagers. In addition to being a diligent and hardworking student, Aurora serves those around her like a champion. Many in our society have grown comfortable letting time meander aimlessly by, but Aurora is not among those people. Aurora epitomizes the notion that beauty is more than skin deep.

Thank you, Aurora, for all of your hard work, your acts of service to others, and your desire to be an exceptional youth. Thanks for allowing me to capture a bit of you!

Posted by Crystal on March 4, 2008 at 10:54PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Dana - Face #22

Child care providers are very near and dear to my heart. Those who truly care about children provide an invaluable service to precious little people. Dana is one of several people working at KidsPark, a fun-filled, pay by the hour childcare facility. Dana enjoys working with children, and what child could not enjoy being with her considering her wonderful smile? Dana helps to add fun and joy to these kids' days while they are at KidsPark. Dana, thanks for being willing to care for some of Chico's precious kids. You are filling a very important role. Thanks for allowing me a few minutes to capture those cute dimples!

Posted by Crystal on March 3, 2008 at 10:30PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Bill - Face #21

Bill is one of the most helpful people we have ever met, and he is one seriously handy guy. Always willing to lend a hand in any way that he can, Bill knows what it means to give of himself.

A proud father and grandfather, Bill breaks the stereotypes by riding around town on his Honda Goldwing motorcycle. He also has a great sense of humor, and he is often seen smiling.

Thanks, Bill, for being so wonderfully patient during this photo shoot!

Posted by Crystal on March 2, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Erik - Face #20

If you have lived in Chico for any reasonable period of time, then you have heard of The Arc. The Arc sells second hand clothes and accessories to help support the developmentally disabled people of Chico.

I was surprised at the diverse group of people working in the store. One man, Erik, has being working there for quite some time. He has traveled all over the world during his lifetime and now finds himself serving the community through his time at The Arc. Thanks, Erik, for spending a couple of moments with me!

Posted by Crystal on March 1, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Chloe - Face #19

This young woman plays a vital role in our town. I call her one of the many sanity savers of Chico. Most would simply call these people babysitters or nannies. Chloe recently graduated from high school, and she has found a great job caring for children. In this photo, she is seen lovingly snuggling one of the children she cares for at local library. Every parent who has ever needed a break realizes the important role that people like Chloe play in our lives.

Thank you, Chloe, for being willing to love on a few of the little ones in Chico and for giving me a brief view of your life.

Posted by Crystal on February 29, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Ashley and Bethany - Face #18

Their earthly bodies are buried in a Chico cemetery, a simple place to remember that they once were a part of this city. Though their lives were but minutes long, their impact is permanent for me. They changed me; they taught me so much about faith, love, and the preciousness of life. Through their death our lives have been opened to serve other children who need our love. Thank you, Ashley and Bethany, for teaching your mommy some very important lessons. You are not forgotten.

Posted by Crystal on February 28, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Shannon - Face #17

I am sure that most people would not be able to guess where I found this hidden treasure. On the outskirts of Chico lies a humble building filled with unwanted animals, the Butte Humane Society. Shannon spends her days serving the animals who are simply grateful that she cares enough to help them. Loving her job, Shannon helps to match loving pets with loving homes. Thanks, Shannon, for giving me a few minutes of your time and for all the work you do!

Posted by Crystal on February 27, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Amy - Face #16

Amy is a wonderfully bright entrepreneur who has established Baby's Boutique, a quaint little shop here in Chico. The business aims to reduce unnecessary waste by reusing gently used children's clothing and furniture. Amy's smile warms her shop and her customers, and she often comes up with new creative ideas to add to and improve her shop. She is truly a woman of many talents, a busy full time mom.

Amy, it was wonderful to get to chat with you for a bit. Thanks for allowing me a few moments of your time.

Posted by Crystal on February 26, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Patti - Face #15

The only thing that may surpass the love of this grandma is the beauty of her granddaughter. Patti plays many different roles, and one of the most precious is that of grandmother. Grandparents are amazingly powerful instruments of love, wisdom, and help to both their own children and their grandchildren. Patti is wonderfully loving, committed, and hard working.

Many grandparents do not hear how much they are appreciated, what a huge help they are. We would like to thank all of the grandparents who work so hard and love so deeply.

Thank you, Patti, for all that you do and for allowing me to capture a bit of your heart.

Posted by Crystal on February 25, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Every Foster Child - Face #14

Can you recognize a foster child? What haunts the eyes of their tormented youth? Have you ever wondered? These eyes are here to represent every foster child in Chico.

Some are small and some are big. Some are teens and some are babies. Some are white and some are black. Do they matter? Yes!

These children are much more than entries on some distant courtroom docket. They are amazing young people who won't give up their place in life, their desire to be loved and cherished. Invite one into your life, and it will change you forever.

To all the young people waiting in foster care, demanding that someone notice that you truly are important, please know that you are not forgotten. Thanks for being just who you are.

Posted by Crystal on February 24, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, babies and children, photos and portraits.

Rachelle - Face #12

Smokin'! That pretty much sums up this young woman and her work. Rachelle owns a local flower shop, Flowers by Rachelle, where she specializes in creating reminders of the beauty ever present in life. Rachelle is truly a remarkable young woman. She is a business owner as well as talented, beautiful, sweet, and compassionate; that is definitely smokin'. In addition to all of her work at her shop, Rachelle volunteers her time in a variety of ways throughout the community. Rachelle most definitely has an amazing heart for serving others. Thanks, Rachelle, for giving me a bit of your valuable time; it was a pleasure! And for all you young men, there is still hope. Remarkably, she is single! :)

Posted by Crystal on February 22, 2008 at 11:25PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Paul - Face #11

Lovingly devoted! A man of so many talents, amazing character, and gentle yet passionate spirit is undervalued in today's society. Yet, because of him many lives have been touched, changed, emboldened, and, most importantly, loved. Paul works in the technology department at Enloe Hospital here in Chico, and he is deeply loved by his friends, family, and others that he has impacted and served. When Paul is not busy attending to the aforementioned, he can be found giving his time in a variety of ways throughout the community. Paul, you are wonderful. Thank you for all you do, and thanks for allowing me to grab a few shots of you!

Posted by Crystal on February 21, 2008 at 11:45PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Señora Smith - Face #10

Portrait of Señora Smith

Have you experienced the gift of having a teacher who challenged you to be a better person? That is how countless students feel about Señora Smith. Arguably one of the most passionate teachers we have ever had the pleasure of meeting, Señora raises the bar of excellence in teaching to a whole new level. Her courage, love, and desire to motivate and challenge her students is truly inspiring. While teachers often do not get the thanks they so richly deserve, we hope that this will serve as a small word of thanks. Thank you Señora for all that you do; your students are different for having been loved by you. Thanks for allowing me a few moments to capture a bit of you!

Posted by Crystal on February 20, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Dr. Mark Light - Face #9

Portrait of Dr. Mark Light

Dr. Light has been serving the Chico area for a number of years through his practice of general medicine and his countless attributions to different charities and organizations. A sweet, kind and deeply caring man, Dr. Light seeks to love others by using his gifts and talents. Thanks, Dr. Light, for allowing me a few moments to capture a bit of who you are!

Posted by Crystal on February 19, 2008 at 11:35PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Gerrard - Face #8

Portrait of Gerrard

Meet homie Gee! Well, at least his friends call him Gee. Everyone else knows him as Gerrard. Gee is a super smart guy who aspires to be an engineer, and he might even find fame one day. Until then Gee is famous among his friends and family for his amazing sense of humor and steadfast loyalty. He has a gift that is truly treasured in our culture, the gift of being able to make people smile. But don't tell Mr. Gee that he is cute; instead, he prefers to be labeled handsome! Thanks, Gee, for allowing me a bit of your time and for making me laugh (even though I almost knocked myself out in the process). :)

Posted by Crystal on February 18, 2008 at 9:08PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Officer Andy Houghtby - Face #7

Portrait of Officer Houghtby

This is Andy, who is arguably the most friendly neighborhood police officer we have ever met. Andy can often been seen biking around the Chico State Campus wearing a grin that would make even the most serious contemplate returning his smile. Andy has served both as a officer and a sheriff in the Chico area. He has a lovely wife and several handsome young boys. If you see Andy biking around, ask him for one of his collector cards! Thanks, Andy, for allowing us a few minutes with you and for all the hard work that you do.

Posted by Crystal on February 17, 2008 at 9:30AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Amber - Face #6

Portrait of Amber

This young woman has one of the sweetest constitutions and the most brilliant eyes I have ever had the privilege of seeing. Her smile made meeting her even more enjoyable. I found Amber serving in Augie's, a small coffee shop tucked away downtown. How often do such treasures remain unnoticed in our busy lives?

Posted by Crystal on February 16, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Margie - Face #5

Portrait of Margie

This is the amazing Margie. Margie represents a significant portion of the Chico population: the college students. Margie is anything but common though. A bright, hardworking, determined young woman; Margie is truly outstanding. Thanks, Margie, for allowing me the privilege of capturing a moment of your youth.

Posted by Crystal on February 15, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Dr. Kirk James - Face #4

Portrait of Dr. Kirk James

I have always believed that a person's eyes tell an amazing story all by themselves. Dr. Kirk James's eyes don't disappoint! Being a dedicated chiropractor is just one of the many ways that Dr. James serves the Chico community. He is complemented by his beautiful wife and several darling children. Thanks, Dr. James, for giving me a few moments of your time!

Posted by Crystal on February 14, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Stacy - Face #3

Portrait of Stacy

Meet Ms. Stacy, a stunning, young, wonderfully petite secretary for a local foster family agency. Stacy is sweet, compassionate, and always stylishly dressed. While Stacy may fill a role that often goes unnoticed, she plays an important role for some super special foster kids in Butte County. Thanks, Stacy, for allowing me to have a couple of photo moments with you.

Posted by Crystal on February 13, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Eric - Face #2

Portrait of Eric Manzone

Eric Manzone is a husband, father, and denture artist! Eric owns Just for Grins, a local denture fabricating shop.

He is a man of many talents. Chief among those talents would be his love and dedication to his beloved family and his extraordinary sense of humor. Thanks, Eric, for allowing me to capture a moment of your life! We had a blast.

Posted by Crystal on February 12, 2008 at 3:00PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Samantha - Face #1

Portrait of Samantha

This is Samantha. Samantha is beautiful and a delight to be around. Compassionate and tender enough to work with the youngest kids, she is also funny and interesting enough to entertain any adult with delightful conversation. It has been my joy to get to know Samantha over the last 6 or so months, and we look forward to seeing her every week. Thanks, Sam, for letting me take your picture!

Posted by Crystal on February 11, 2008 at 1:30PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under 365 faces of chico, photos and portraits.

Zeus: Our Newest Family Member

About two months ago, Rachelle called me at work. An interesting conversation ensued:

"Dad, we got a new dog!"

"Is it stuffed?"

"No, it's a black lab puppy."

"Very funny. You're joking, right?"

"No, Ariana's horseback riding teacher was giving away puppies. Mom said we could have one!"

Once I recovered from my shock over the idea that Crystal would ever agree to get a second dog, I realized that Rachelle was serious. A few minutes later, Crystal and the girls picked me up from work, and I observed that Rachelle was, indeed, holding a tiny black lab puppy. He was beautiful, the blackest black dog I've ever seen.

Now lets fast forward to today. Zeus, as we finally named him, is almost twice the size of our beagle Gracie. He's been a wonderful addition to our family, contributing to our healing when we needed it the very most. It's about time he showed up on the blog, so Crystal took some pictures of him today. Here are a few of our favorites.

Posted by Greg on January 15, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family and photos.

Wonderful Widow

Anyone who has experienced great loss in their life could relate to the daily burden this widow feels. Dorothy, a mother of two and former foster parent, lost her dear husband just a few years ago. We have had the privilege of getting to know Dorothy and loving her through some of the heartache she has faced. Recently, we spent some time with her to share her burden and, hopefully, add to her joy. It is simply amazing to me that some beauty can only come through the fiery trials we face in this life. Look at the beauty present in her eyes. Dorothy, thank you for helping us remember what is truly important in this life. You really are a masterpiece! We love you.

Posted by Crystal on January 13, 2008 at 9:20PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under photos and portraits.

Happy 31st Birthday Daddy!

We could not pass up this opportunity to send out a short tribute to the most amazing man in our lives. Happy 31st Birthday! For those of you who read our blog that may not personally know Greg, know that he is simply one of the most amazing men you could have the pleasure of knowing in this life. He is an amazing husband, loving dad, and wonderful friend. Honey, thank you for doing all that you do to make our life as wonderful as it is. I love you! Ariana and Emily love you bunches too! (Two faces have been purposely distorted to protect the children's identity.)

Posted by Crystal on January 9, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under coates family and photos.

Greg

If you are fortunate enough in this life you meet a person that not only inspires you to continually be a better person but is willing to stick with you and love you through the good times and the bad. Early in my college career I met the man who would continue to remind me of God's grace in my life on a regular basis; then a mere 2 years later I convinced him to marry me. :) Since then so much has happened, and we both have changed a whole lot. Somehow, though, one of us has grown more dashingly handsome with time -- my soulmate Gregory. Isn't he marvelous? His smile never ceases to make me stand in awe, and his eyes will always captivate me. The other day he graciously allowed me to grab a few shots. "Wow, Doggie!" is all I can say. I love you, honey.

Posted by Crystal on January 6, 2008 at 8:25PM.

Permalink / Comments (2)

Filed under coates family, photos and portraits.

Ariana and Friends

I gave Ariana a gift certificate for a photo shoot with up to 3 of her friends for Christmas this year. She was so excited that she immediately started calling her friends. She had them rounded up in time for a New Year's Eve photo shoot.

For most of the day, I was surrounded by even more females than usual as the girls started showing up the night before the shoot. Crystal did everyone's hair, we dropped the toddlers and baby off at Nana's house, and then we headed out for the shoot.

We had an absolute blast. We laughed -- mostly at Kiara, we ran off a bum who wanted to give me photography pointers, and we enjoyed Crystal's antics as she tried to keep the girls loosened up throughout the afternoon.

Aurora, Kiara, and Leti, thanks for helping me make my daughter's Christmas special. Ariana, I hope you enjoy your gift. I love you!

Kiara

Aurora

Leti

Ariana

Posted by Greg on January 3, 2008 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, coates family, photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, photos and portraits.

Christmas Portrait 2007

It's a Crazy Family!

It's that time of year again! We took a new family picture to use for our Christmas cards this year. You'll notice that we included our two dogs this year. You'll also notice that Rachelle is not in the picture. She's away at a residential treatment program for a while. If you're interested in more thoughts about how that has impacted our lives, you might want to check out The Coates Place, our personal website.

If you're on our Christmas list, you can look for your cards and our annual Christmas letter in the mail in the next couple of weeks.

Posted by Greg on December 10, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, families, photos and portraits.

Thanksgiving in Napa

Toothless Fun

Some families get together and enjoy blissful, tender, warm moments that they cherish forever; that is most definitely not how I would describe my family. They are loud, rowdy, busy, and a bit chaotic. It would not be a Flower family get together without a few arguments, lots of food, card games, and several hard to contain children that often get misplaced.

However, if you look carefully you will notice that in the midst of all those rough edges there emerge a few tender moments. Laughter erupting from a few people during a card game. Children squealing in delight over the discovery that sand works far better then shampoo. Seeing the "tough" teen snuggled up closely with the baby asleep after the great feast. Gentle kisses. Funny faces. Those are the moments I cherish during the holidays with my family.

This Thanksgiving my brother Richard and his wife Tricia graciously agreed to host the holiday festivities at their home in Napa. The drive was clear and pretty, and the day was simply beautiful. After gorging ourselves sinfully during the meal we lounged and socialized before saying our goodbyes. Emily and my niece have the hardest time with these departures. They get so excited about seeing each other that their time together never seems just long enough. Cheyenne dutifully helped buckle Emily into her car seat and gave her hugs and kisses before we went on our way. It was so sweet. Thanks, Richard and Trish, for being such gracious hosts. The meal was awesome!

On a final note, my wonderful parents graciously agreed to pose for a "toothless grin" picture. For as long as I can remember, my father has entertained little children with his ability to pull out his "teeth". So, I thought it would make a great picture if both of my parents posed "toothless". I had the hardest time getting the shot through my laughter. Mom and Dad, you both are such great sports!

Nana Flower

Cheyenne Drumming

Emily

Cheyenne Sliding

Emily

Lauren

Posted by Crystal on December 6, 2007 at 1:00PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family and photos.

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.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under babies and children, coates family, events and photos.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, photos and portraits.

Dolly's Boudoir Portraits

I recently had the pleasure of doing my first boudoir session with an amazing woman. Dolly was such a trooper and divinely patient with me as the session unfolded. We did the photo session at the Johnson's Country Inn. The bed and breakfast was beautiful, a great little get away spot. Dolly did a fantastic job posing for the photos. She is a natural beauty. Thanks for trusting me to do your portraits Dolly, I had a blast. I hope you enjoy the book!

Posted by Crystal on November 23, 2007 at 12:10AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under boudoir, photos and portraits.

Jared and Cynthia: TWIRPS Portraits

My nephew Jared asked me to take pictures of him and his date for the TWIRPS dance. Cynthia was beautiful, and Jared cleaned up pretty well too. Crystal and I photographed the flower exchange, and then we created some casual portraits. We had a lot of fun and laughed a lot. Thanks for letting us be your photographers, Jared!

Posted by Greg on November 13, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under photos and portraits.

Crystal Headshot

I was taking some headshots of my lovely wife last week. I ended up with my favorite picture of her of all time, and I wanted to share it here. Isn't she simply beautiful?

Posted by Greg on November 7, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under photos and portraits.

Tyler

Sometimes, inspiration strikes, and last week I came up with the idea of blessing a very nice young man with a complimentary portrait session. Among Tyler's many strengths is his theatrical ability, which became apparent during the photo session. It is my sincere hope that Tyler will enjoy his portraits for many years to come. Thanks, Tyler, for allowing me the privilege of photographing you.

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

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under photos and portraits.

Hair Nouveau

Crystal Sporting New Highlights and Freshly Done Nails

I'd like to send out a big thank you to Shannon and Irene at Hair Nouveau in Chico. Shannon did an amazing job on my nails, and Irene did a great job on my hair. Thanks, ladies!

Posted by Crystal on November 2, 2007 at 9:00PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under photos.

Pumpkin Patch

Rachelle and Emily Picking a Pumpkin

Two weekends ago, we continued a family tradition: taking a fall trip to the pumpkin patch. We loaded the kids into Bessie the Bus, our new Suburban, and headed to the Book Family Farm for a visit to their harvest festival.

As we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed a running helicopter sitting in the field next to us. It was fire safety week at the farm, and we watched a demonstration of a rescue by a fire crew as well as a water dump by the helicopter. We fed the sheep and goats, played on playground equipment, took a ride in a horse-drawn wagon, and ate snow cones. Then we walked through the pumpkin patch, and each child picked a pumpkin to take home.

Once we got the pumpkins home, we tried something a little different. Instead of carving the pumpkins, we painted them. We gave the kids brushes and paint on palettes made of brown paper bags. They each created their abstract art, and then Crystal helped them to give each pumpkin a face.

Feeding a Horse

Pumpkin Portrait

Watching Daddy Eat a Snowcone

Fire Chopper Water Dump

Emily and Her Pumpkin

Painting a Pumpkin

Posted by Greg on October 31, 2007 at 11:45PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under coates family and photos.

Summer Vacation 2007: Salem and Ashland

Riding the Lithia Park Merry-Go-Round

Super 8 Motel, Ashland, Oregon (August 11)

Weather

Sunny and beautiful

Activities
  • Visited the state capitol building in Salem, Oregon.

  • Climbed the 121 steps to the top of the capitol rotunda
  • Played in Lithia Park in Ashland
  • Shopped in downtown Ashland
  • Attended a performance of Tartuffe at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Highlights

Rachelle, Ariana, and I had never attended a live performance of a play before, so Crystal graciously agreed to hang out with Emily while we saw Tartuffe. We experienced something that I will never forget. Professional actors, great writing, and fabulous comedy made for an excellent production.

Lowlights

This was the end of our trip. :(

Jumping into the Pool

Oregon Pioneer Statue

Rachelle at the Playground

Sliding into the Pool

Capitol Fountain

Posted by Greg on October 22, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos, summer vacation 2007 and trip reports.

Summer Vacation 2007: Columbia River Gorge

Touching Wahkeena Falls

Super 8 Motel, Gresham, Oregon (August 10)

Weather

Mostly sunny.

Activities
  • Viewed the gorge from Women's Forum and the Vista House
  • Hiked to Latourell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Shepperds Dell Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Multnomah Falls
  • Saw the roadside view of Horsetail Falls
  • Played in the park in Cascade Locks
Highlights

Seeing six big waterfalls in one afternoon is a special experience. There aren't too many places in the world where this is possible, but the gorge is one of them.

We found a bird's nest on the restroom building at the Bridal Veil Falls parking lot. We were able to see the mother bird fly in several times to feed her hungry babies.

Columbia River Gorge Family Portrait

Multnomah Falls

Rachelle at Bridal Veil Falls

Shepperds Dell Falls

Latourell Falls

Wahkeena Falls

Hungry Bird Babies

Multnomah Falls Detail

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

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos, summer vacation 2007 and trip reports.

Summer Vacation 2007: Portland

Rachelle in the Lovejoy Fountain

Super 8 Motel, Gresham, Oregon (August 7-9)

Weather

Varied. We got a bit of rain one morning, and it was partly cloudy to sunny the rest of the time.

Activities
  • Took a MAX train from our hotel to downtown Portland
  • Walked around the downtown Farmer's Market
  • Looked at The Old Church and saw a concert of pieces selected from the musical Honk!
  • Toured the Portland Art Museum
  • Saw an outdoor concert by Pepe and the Bottle Blondes
  • Toured the Classical Chinese Garden in Chinatown
  • Explored the Portland Children's Museum, including the Rembrandt exhibit of works by Dutch painters including Rembrandt himself
  • Walked around the grounds of the Pittock Mansion
  • Looked at the flowers in the Rose Garden in Washington Park
  • Played at the playground in Washington Park
  • Examined the Illume outdoor photo exhibit
  • Visited the Grotto, a peaceful Catholic shrine in a Portland suburb. Took the elevator to the garden on the top level
Food Notes

We decided to try some new foods when we ate at the Heathman in downtown Portland. Crystal ordered rabbit, and I ordered quail. Both were excellent.

When we were in Chinatown, we asked a police officer where to find the best authentic Chinese food. He recommended a restaurant, and we were treated to the best Chinese food I've eaten.

Highlights

The Old Church in Portland contains a Hook & Hastings pipe organ that was originally installed in 1883 and restored in 1997. I was given an opportunity to play this beautiful, historic instrument.

The venue for the Pepe and the Bottle Blondes concert included a dance floor that was largely ignored by the spectators. Rachelle walked around asking all of the kids in the front of the crowd if they'd like to dance. She and the children filled the floor for three or four songs.

The Portland Children's Museum offered face painting as an activity for its visitors. First, Rachelle painted Emily's face. She like that and decided that she wanted to paint the faces of her sisters. They are great sports, so they let her. Several minutes later, I had three paint-covered daughters. They spent the rest of the day walking around Portland as highly decorated siblings, drawing looks from most passers-by.

Portland gets the award for nicest big city that I've visited. In fact, it is the only big city that I've visited so far where I feel I could actually live if I was forced to move to a city. It was clean, it was beautiful, and they have great parks and a great public transportation system. The police officers that I spoke too talked about the low crime rate in the downtown area. And it's close to an absurd number of beautiful natural settings.

Rinsing in Washington Park

Making a Clay Souvenir

Pittock Mansion

Dodging Birds

View of Portland

The Old Church

Jumping Down Stairs

Saint Anne's Chapel, The Grotto

Post-Dance Hug

Posted by Greg on October 17, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under coates family, photos, summer vacation 2007 and trip reports.

Summer Vacation 2007: Mount St. Helens

Rebirth in the Monument

Seaquest State Park, Washington (August 5-6)

Weather

Cloudy at times. Foggy at times. Rain the first night.

Activities
  • Drove into Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
  • Examined exhibits at the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center and the Johnston Ridge Observatory
  • Listened to a ranger talk about the regeneration of life in the monument at Coldwater Ridge
  • Built a gargantuan bonfire the last night in camp. We wanted use all of our wood.
Highlights

The ranger talk that we attended at the visitor center was highly informative. I was amazed at the amount of regeneration that has occurred in the park since the eruption. Also, I found the land surprisingly beautiful in spite of the past destruction.

Lowlights

We never did get to see Mount St. Helens because of the clouds and fog.

This was our last campground of the trip. We all immediately started suffering from camping withdrawal.

Coldwater Lake

View from Johnston Ridge Observatory

Sleepy Girls

Posted by Greg on October 15, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos, summer vacation 2007 and trip reports.

Summer Vacation 2007: Mount Ranier National Park

Mount Ranier from Reflection Lakes

Ohanepekosh Campground, Washington (August 2-4)

Weather

Partly to mostly cloudy. Foggy in Paradise. Rain one night.

Activities
  • Shopped at mall in Seattle so we would miss the rush hour traffic through downtown
  • Drove to Paradise twice
  • Hiked the Nisqually Vista trail
  • Saw the Box Canyon of the Cowlitz
  • Attended a worship service at the campground
  • Walked to the overlook of Narada Falls
  • Ate lunch at the National Park Inn
Food Notes

We grilled beef and vegetable kabobs over the campfire one night. We had learned from past mistakes and had proper tools so we didn't burn them this time. I think this was the best camp meal of the entire trip.

Highlights

Beauty abounded on the Nisqually Vista hike. The wildflowers were blooming profusely, and the greenery was abundant. Whoever named Paradise did so appropriately.

We focused on family time on this trip, including a lot of time playing games. In our campground here, we played Scrabble. Other games we had with us included cards and Yahtzee. Lots of family bonding occurred as a result of our focused time together.

Worship in the natural cathedral of the forest seemed fitting. The experience was special.

Lowlights

I didn't pay enough attention to the National Park Service website when I planned this part of our trip. We arrived at Mount Ranier pretty late because we wanted to miss the traffic through Seattle. We got to the road that we were planning to take through the park only to find it still closed because of severe flood damage. The detour took over two hours, and we didn't get to camp until after midnight that night. But at least we had reservations and didn't have to sleep in the van!

We had clear views of the mountain most of the time we were in Seattle and the San Juan Islands. We only got fleeting glimpses of the mountain while we were in the park, and we never were able to see it up close from Paradise.

Paradise Flowers

Looking at the Canyon

In a Rock

Mount Ranier

Narada Falls

Paradise Meadows

Posted by Greg on October 12, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under coates family, photos, summer vacation 2007 and trip reports.

Summer Vacation 2007: Orcas Island

On Top of Mount Constitution

Moran State Park, Washington (July 20-August 1)

Weather

Sunny and beautiful

Activities
  • Took a Washington state ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands
  • Swam in Cascade Lake
  • The girls took a paddleboat ride on Cascade Lake
  • The girls and I did a four mile hike around Mountain Lake
  • Shopped and dined in the community of Eastsound
  • Drove to the top of Mount Constitution and climbed the tower
Food Notes

Coastal Washington is filled with places to buy smoked salmon. Crystal ordered a smoked salmon dish at the seafood restaurant in Eastsound which tasted divine.

One night, we gave Ariana and Rachelle the responsibility of making dinner. They chose to make tacos. They were delicious! They were so good that Ariana ate five of them.

Highlights

Trail Run

Mountain Lake Hikers

Our campsite bumped against the edge of Cascade Lake. It was peaceful and beautiful. Our stay there coincided with the full moon, and the light shining on the lake's surface at night was particularly nice.

On the hike around Mountain Lake, I carried Emily in a toddler backpack. She fell asleep and awoke several times on the hike. Each time she awoke, she asked me to give her kisses. I contorted myself to bring our faces together but ended up kissing her on the hand instead.

The view from the observation tower on the top of Mount Constitution was mind-boggling. We could see several other islands in the San Juan archipelago, mountains in Canada, and the Washington mainland. Our visited coincided with sunset, so the light was beautiful as well. Being on top of the world is amazing.

The ferry rides to and from Orcas Island win the transportation coolness award for this trip. What other mode of transportation allows you to drive your car onto a boat and then walk around and look at the scenery while being moved across a huge body of salt water and then be dropped off on an island?

View from Mount Constitution

Cascade Lake

Moran Campsite

Ferry Ride

Posted by Greg on October 10, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos, summer vacation 2007 and trip reports.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, photos and portraits.

Summer Vacation 2007: Olympic National Park

Crescent Lake

Safeway Parking Lot, Port Angeles, Washington (July 27)

Weather

Sunny during the day and cloudy at night.

Activities
  • Spent an absurd amount of time in traffic trying to get out of Seattle
Lowlights

We were going to take a ferry from just north of Seattle over to the Olympic Peninsula. When we arrived, the wait for the ferry was over two hours long, so we decided to drive around instead. That was a huge mistake. The traffic through Seattle, and it took us over three hours to make the drive. By the time we got to Olympic National Park, the campground we had planned to use was full. We drove back to Port Angeles only to find that every hotel that wasn't horrifically frightening was also full. We ended up sleeping in our van in the Safeway parking lot.

Mora Campground, Olympic National Park, Washington (July 28-29)

Weather

Partly cloudy with some fog. Light rain one night.

Activities
  • Gawked at Crescent Lake in the national park
  • Walked on Rialto Beach
  • Played at Ruby Beach
  • Took a ranger-led hike through the Hoh Rain Forest
  • Played in the Hoh River
  • Sat around the campfire telling stories about our lives before we met
  • Took in the jaw-dropping view of Hurricane Ridge
Highlights

Ruby Beach was beautiful. It featured huge rocks, driftwood, and a tidal creek. Emily, Ariana, and Rachelle met a little girl who promptly attached herself to them. The little girl followed them everywhere they went for the entire afternoon.

We found a small log sticking out of the ground next to the Hoh River. It screamed, "Ride me!" So, we rode it. We took turns sitting on the log while someone else yanked the loose end up and down. Yeeeee haw!

Hurricane Ridge inspired awe. The flower-filled meadow next to the parking lot and the snow-capped mountain range in the background made for the best mountain view of my life. It brought tears to Crystal's eyes.

Emily on Ranger Walk

Ruby Beach Family Portrait

Hall of Mosses

Throwing Rocks

Hurricane Ridge Family Portrait

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

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos, summer vacation 2007 and trip reports.

Sue Menzie Portraits

My friend Sue Menzie has started a leadership training business called Tapestry Leadership Concepts. I'm honored to have several of my nature photos featured on her website. In addition, Sue wanted some updated portraits for the website, so she asked me to create some. Here are a few of my favorites.

Posted by Greg on October 4, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under photos and portraits.

Summer Vacation 2007: Seattle

Space Needle

Renton, Washington, Econo Lodge (July 24-26)

Weather

Sunny with a few clouds. No rain.

Activities
  • Toured Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum
  • Toured science museum and saw Mount St. Helens IMAX movie
  • Went to top of the Space Needle
  • Played in the hotel pool
  • Toured museum of flight
  • Took harbor cruise
  • Went to Pike's Place Market
  • Saw Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and fish ladder
  • Visited Woodland Park Zoo
Food Notes

We discovered Red Robin. Even though it's a chain restaurant, we enjoyed the burgers and chicken sandwiches so much that we ate there twice.

Highlights

The Experience Music Project has an area called the Sound Lab where visitors can play their own music. We drummed, sang, strummed guitars, and generally enjoyed making music. We didn't even scare any other visitors away.

The Pike's Place Market was amazing. Filled with fresh flowers, vegetables, meat, and fish; it was a feast for the eyes and the camera lens. It was also filled with street musicians, including the first street musician I've ever seen playing a piano! Pike's Place is also the home of the nation's first Starbucks. No, lattes were not on the menu that day, although Rachelle ordered of the best cheesecakes I've ever tasted from a cheesecake specialty shop.

The fish ladder at the locks was fascinating. The engineers kindly installed glass windows instead of concrete sides along part of the ladder. Plenty of the fish had grown to several feet in length, and the fish swam up the ladders in abundance.

We searched and searched for a souvenir to purchase for Emily. She picked a beautiful flower necklace in a shop on the Seattle waterfront. Her excitement was so cute and sweet!

Best. Cheesecake. Ever.

Seattle Skyline from Cruise Ship

Pike's Place Market Flowers

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

Science Museum Soccer Goalies

In the Space Needle

Posted by Greg on October 2, 2007 at 11:45PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos, summer vacation 2007 and trip reports.

Summer Vacation 2007: Oregon Coast

Harris Beach State Park, Oregon (July 21)

Weather

Cloudy with rain/mist at night.

Activities
  • Played on Harris Beach
  • Buryed Ariana in the sand
Highlights

Crystal and Rachelle were playing in the surf at Harris Beach. Crystal was wearing regular shorts because her husband forgot to pack her bathing suit. (Oops.) At one point, a rather large wave took her shorts down to her ankles. The wave receded, and all of the people looking in her general direction got mooned. They all thought it was hysterically funny, but I was bummed because I missed the whole episode!

Beverly Beach State Park, Oregon (July 22-23)

Weather

Cloudy and/or foggy both days. Foggy/misty the first night, clear the second night.

Activities
  • Window shopped and ate lunch and caramel apples in the historic bayfront area of Newport
  • Explored tidepools at Yaquina Head
  • Climbed the Yaquina Head lighthouse
  • Trash the prom dress shoot on Beverly Beach with Rachelle and Ariana
Highlights

I woke up in the tent and looked over to see a giant smile on Emily's face. This melted my heart almost every day on this trip. This particular morning I watched my wife jump between Ariana and Rachelle's air mattresses and then proceed to tickle and kiss them until they were awake and begging for mercy.

Emily kept asking to "Take walk!" (To hear this in your mind correctly, you have to pronounce the k's like you are speaking German.)

Newport Cutie

Salad and a Pepsi

Looking for Wildlife

Common Murre

Dad and Ariana

Tidepool Anenomes

Posted by Greg on September 28, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos, summer vacation 2007 and trip reports.

Summer Vacation 2007: Redwoods

Playing in the Sand

Surfin' USA

The Girls and a Honkin' Tree

Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California (July 17)

Weather

Raining cats and dogs.

Activities
  • Ate at a small cafe to keep from drowning
  • Drove the Avenue of the Giants
Highlights

Our campsite was beautiful. It was secluded and huge. Also, it stopped raining long enough for us to pack without getting drenched.

Lowlights

We followed our plans to camp here in spite of scattered rain showers in the forecast. After all, it was California in July. How bad could it be? Unfortunately, we had overlooked a major factor in the weather: the Coates Camping Curse. This curse has followed my family since I was a small child. You see, it is nearly impossible for any Coates family member to go on a camping trip without getting rained on or having some other natural problem. For example, not too long after Crystal and I were married, we went camping with my parents in Tennessee. It was nice until the day we packed up to go home. We woke up to a torrential downpour. We hurriedly loaded the car. After about five minutes, we didn't care about the rain so much because it would have been impossible for us to get any wetter. We learned later that the entire campground had washed away when the nearby creek flooded. On another occasion, we took my parents to Crescent City to camp in the Redwoods. A tsunami warning was issued while we were there. Are you starting to get the idea?

When we arrived at the state park, it was cloudy, but the clouds didn't look too bad. We dug the tent out of the van and erected it. No sooner had we installed the rain fly when the rain started. By the time we had our sleeping bags and mattresses in the tent, the sky had opened up completely.

Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, California (July 18-20)

Weather

Varied. We got beautiful sun one day and rain the other two as well as light rain each night.

Activities
  • Built sand structures and rode waves at a Crescent City beach
  • Attended campfire program titled Bear Tales at our campground
  • Toured Ocean World in Crescent City
  • Walked to Battery Point Lighthouse (no tsunami warning this time)
  • Hiked to Fern Canyon
  • Drove Newton B. Drury Parkway through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Food notes

We had burgers cooked over an open campfire one night. They were extremely good, but if you want to try this yourself I suggest that you use something more sturdy and less likely to melt than a plastic fork to turn them. You'll be less likely to catch them on fire like we did.

Highlights

We got to pet starfish, anenomes, and sharks at Ocean World. There was also a great sea lion show.

Redwoods are big. Really big. They are so big that I told Emily we were going to see "honkin' trees." She kept asking about honkin' trees for days after we left.

We saw four giant bull elk right next to the road when we drove in to the Fern Canyon trailhead.

Lowlights

I woke up sick the first day in this campground. It was not fun, but at least I recovered quickly

We narrowly missed a pretty nasty car accident on the drive to the trailhead. The car behind us got hit by a tire and axle that came off a semi truck in the lane going the opposite direction. We stopped to help and everyone was okay.

Emily in Sissie's Clothes

Rachelle

Plumber Pants

Elk

Fern Sprout

Inspecting Ferns

Posted by Greg on September 26, 2007 at 5:00PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos, summer vacation 2007 and trip reports.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, photos and portraits.

Summer Vacation 2007: Napa and Six Flags

Riding Voodoo

Richard and Tricia's House, Napa, CA (July 15-16)

Weather

Sunny.

Activities
  • Swam in the community pool at Richard and Tricia's house
  • Rode big roller coasters (for the big people) and little rides (for the little people) at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
  • Walked through the Shark Experience aquarium
  • Watched the trained dolphin show
  • Emily and Ariana rode an elephant
  • Crystal, Ariana, and Rachelle rode the Skycoaster, a giant swing
  • Saw the Spirit of Shouka whale show
Highlights

I rode the Road Runner Express, a small roller coaster, with Emily. She kept saying "Whee!" as we flew up and down the hills. When we disembarked, Emily wanted to keep riding. She said, "More whee! More wheee!"

The animal shows proved how talented dolphins and whales can be. The dolphins can leap several feet in the air. Both can be trained to perform a mind-boggling range of behaviors on command. One of these behaviors is swimming along the edge of the pool and splashing the audience. Rachelle was splashed thoroughly during the whale show.

Rachelle volunteered to pull the ripcord that released the swing when she, Ariana, and Crystal road the Skycoaster. She was instructed to pull the cord when the operator counted to three. He counted to three, and nothing happened. She inquired, "What?" Everyone yelled at her to pull the cord, and finally she got the idea and released the swing.

Rachelle and Ariana rode a ride called Cargo Queen with Emily and Cheyenne. The teenagers taught the younger kids to raise their arms and scream just like the teenagers would scream while riding a roller coaster. How adorable!

All of the older riders loved the Velocity roller coaster. It shoots riders to a speed of about 70 miles per hour in a fraction of a second.

Richard and Cheyenne

Daddy Holding Emily

Tricia

Boarding the Road Runner Express

Pepe Le Pew's Rafts of Romance

Posted by Greg on September 4, 2007 at 5:00PM.

Permalink / Comments (2)

Filed under coates family, photos, summer vacation 2007 and trip reports.

Trash the Prom Dresses

While on our vacation, I took Ariana and Rachelle to the beach for a trash the prom dress session. We had a blast, and the sunset that evening was amazingly beautiful. The girls played in the surf, wrestled, and generally acted like their usual goofy selves. Here are some of our favorite images.

Posted by Greg on August 21, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (2)

Filed under photos, portraits and trash the dress.

Crystal Friesen Portraits

Life long friends can be hard to find, but I found Crystal Friesen when we were in the 7th grade. Many years have passed and many miles often separate us, but we still remain best friends. About a month ago now (right before our big vacation) I had the pleasure of hanging out with Crystal before she left to go back to Indonesia. I convinced her to wake up at the crack of dawn the day of her flight out of the states so that I could take a few pictures of her, and she agreed! :) I did not plan on waking up dreadfully sick that morning though. I picked Crystal up and made her stay several feet away from me the whole shoot. The shoot lasted about 15 minutes until I almost passed out! My favorite picture from this session was the last picture I took and was about 2 seconds before I got horribly sick. This was definitely my most interesting photo shoot to date. Thanks, Crystal, for being a trooper! I love you dearly, and I hope you like the pictures. :)

Posted by Crystal on August 19, 2007 at 9:30PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, photos and portraits.

Yosemite and Tahoe Vacation

The day after our adoption party, we left for vacation! My parents had come from North Carolina for a visit, so they came too. We traveled to Yosemite and to Lake Tahoe on our trip.

The first day was spent finishing up the packing that had been delayed because we were so busy with our party. Then we drove to Yosemite and set up our campsite at the Hodgdon Meadows campground. We found a level spot (sort of) for our tent and propped up the stove so the pans didn't slide onto the dirt below.

The next day we started seeing the sights. We started off by driving into Yosemite Valley and having a picnic lunch in the Bridalveil Fall parking lot. Then we joined a bunch of other tourists in taking the short walk to Bridalveil Fall.

By this point, the little kids needed a nap, so we decided to take a drive to Glacier Point so they could sleep in the car. Glacier Point is an overlook on the edge of the rim of Yosemite Valley. From there, we had awe-inspiring views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls, and Vernal Falls. It was truly beautiful. The overlook is on the edge of a vertical cliff that is over 2800 feet tall. That's almost two miles! It made my legs shaky even though I was protected by a sturdy guardrail.

Glacier Point Vista

Glacier Point Vista

Rachelle and Ariana at Glacier Point

The next day, we decided to stay in the valley itself. We found a picnic area that was right next to the Merced River. It had a great view of Yosemite Falls as well. We ate our sandwiches and then turned the kids loose to play in the creek.

Our next stop was the trail to the base of Lower Yosemite Falls. We walked the easy trail to the bridge across the creek below the falls. Normally at this time of year, we would have gotten soaked from the spray off of the falls. This year, though, there wasn't a lot of snow over the winter, so the waterfall was at a much lower flow level than usual. Not only did we not get drenched from walking across the bridge, the rocks at the base of the waterfall were dry. So, we climbed as high as we could.

Tuolumne Meadows

Rachelle and Ariana at Yosemite Falls

Lower Yosemite Falls

The next day was our travel day from Yosemite to Lake Tahoe. We started by driving the Tioga Road through the Yosemite high country. We drove through Tuolomne Meadows, through the Tioga Pass, and past Mono Lake. We then took a winding road through Markleeville and the Sierra Nevada mountains. The scenery along the way was breathtakingly beautiful. At the end of our journey was Sugar Pine State Park on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe. This campground had large, level sites with lots of room for the kids to run and play. We set up camp for our two night stay.

Tuolumne Meadows

View from Highway 89

Bob

Thursday was spent relaxing on the beach at Lake Tahoe. We drove the few miles to D.L. Blick State Park, where we were told there was a nice beach. We were correctly informed. The beach was flat and sandy, and the water was blue and very cold. We -- actually the kids and Crystal -- swam, we played ball, and we cooked dinner at the picnic tables across the parking lot from the beach. The kids even made friends with Bob the goose. Ariana even tried her hand with the camera. She got a great picture of Bob the Goose and some excellent photos of our foster son.

Girls at Lake Tahoe

Ariana, Emily, and Bob (the Goose)

The next morning we had to pack up our camping gear so we could head home at the end of the day. Once we had the car loaded, we went on a hike. There is a small lake very close to Lake Tahoe called Cascade Lake. It is so named because a 200 foot waterfall drops just at the edge of the lake. We all hiked about half a mile or so until we saw the picturesque waterfall. At that point Crystal, Mom, and Rachelle hung out with the little kids because the trail got quite steep. Dad, Ariana, and I kept following the trail until we got to the top of the falls. Again, I couldn't get too close because of my hate-hate relationship with heights, but I did get close enough for a couple of pictures. After we took in the scenery, we walked back to the car and made the drive back to Chico.

Ariana and Poppaw at Cascade Falls

Emily after Cascade Falls Hike

Ariana at Cascade Lake

Posted by Greg on July 2, 2007 at 9:15PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos and trip reports.

Adoption Party

Adoption Cake

Several months ago, we promised our girls that we would throw a blowout party when their adoptions were finalized. The weekend after school ended for the year was party time! Nearly sixty people came to our home for a Mexican-American Luau. Crystal made tostadas, and I grilled a ton of hamburgers and hot dogs.

We had two pinatas -- one for the smaller kids and one for the older kids. Neither one survived very long. The first or second hitter broke both pinatas!

Emily and Pinata

Picking up Candy

Candy Catchers

We had water games and bubbles set up for the kids. The slip 'n' slide was a huge hit!

The adults had a great time.

Lisa Blowing Bubbles

Mica

Shane and Ariana

And so did the kids.

Karis

Mercedie

Josiah

Shayla

Emily Blowing Bubbles

Ethan

All in all, the adoption party was a grand success. Thanks for coming everyone!

Posted by Greg on June 27, 2007 at 5:00PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under coates family, events and photos.

Ariana's Graduation

Ariana

Recently, Ariana passed a big milestone in her life. She was promoted to the ninth grade! Yes, we have two high school students now. She has really worked hard on her grades, and her work has really paid off.

Ariana, your Mom and I are incredibly proud of you! Here are a couple of pictures from your special day.

Ariana and Mychaela

Holding the Diploma

The Coates Family*

*Thanks to Naomi Flower, Crystal's mom, for taking the family photo.

Posted by Greg on June 24, 2007 at 9:00PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, events and photos.

Lauren's Graduation

Lauren Ashley Flower

It seems like just yesterday that I was changing her diapers! Now she is a high school graduate. My, how time flies. A couple weeks ago we went to my niece Lauren's graduation, and I snapped a few pictures of the occasion. Congratulations Lauren on you accomplishments! Go out and change the world; be awesome. We love you!

Accepting the Diploma

Lauren and Gary

The Throwing of the Hats

Lauren Ashley Flower

Posted by Crystal on June 21, 2007 at 5:00PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, events and photos.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, coates family, photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (2)

Filed under babies and children, photos and portraits.

Snow Day

Let's take another little walk down memory lane. Last month, we took our girls to Lassen National Park for a picnic and to play in the snow. We ate sandwiches, apples, and brownies. Then we decided to build a snowman! We rolled the snowballs, smoothed them out with Rachelle's flip flops, and then stacked them up. We added some facial features, and the girls welcomed Mr. Snow into the world with a kiss. All in all, this was a great way to spend an afternoon!

Rachelle and Emily

Ariana

Flip Flop Sculpting

Snow Kiss

Posted by Greg on May 24, 2007 at 11:15PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos and trip reports.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, coates family, photos and portraits.

Crystal

Today, I decided to dig through my photo archives for some of my favorite past pictures of Crystal. I want the world to see how cute she is!

Crystal, I love you with all of my heart. You are my gift, my best friend, and the love of my life. Thanks for letting me share my life with you.

Posted by Greg on May 18, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos and portraits.

Fort Bragg Vacation

My wonderful husband planned a perfectly splendid anniversary getaway to Fort Bragg this last weekend. It is hard to believe that we have already been married 6 years. Time sure does fly by.

Fort Bragg was beautiful and cool -- a stark contrast to the heat wave in Chico. For our anniversary dinner we treated ourselves to a REALLY nice dinner. We ate at a place called the Mendo Bistro and had quite possibly the best food of our lives! It was amazingly good.

We also spent some time exploring the coastline and the beach. It was awe inspiring. And for the very first time ever we found sand dollars; they kept popping up as the surf rolled back out to the ocean. It was peaceful fun. Greg took the time to take some pictures, and, alas, I was the target of some. :)

Greg

Self-Portrait at Pomo Bluffs Park

Crystal

We decided to cut the trip a little short and come back a day early. We were missing the kids, and I was still in some pain from the accident I was recently in. All in all it was a peaceful and wonderful time at the beach. Thanks honey, for such a sweet and wonderful surprise. I love you, and I thank God for our six years together!

Posted by Crystal on May 15, 2007 at 8:45PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos, portraits and trip reports.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under babies and children, coates family, photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (2)

Filed under babies and children, photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, coates family, events and photos.

OSP Chico - Natalie and Robby

Our group of OSP photographers got together at Chico State the afternoon of our shoot. Natalie and Robby modeled through us. They were troopers! They let us put them on the ground, get them in the creek, and walk them all over downtown Chico. They were beautiful, and we really enjoyed creating images of them. Here are a few of Crystal's favorite images from the shoot.

Posted by Greg on April 16, 2007 at 11:00PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under bridals, photos and portraits.

OSP Chico - Table Mountain

Last weekend, several photographers from Open Source Photo as well as some local photographers got together for a couple of fun photo shoots. The first shoot was at Table Mountain -- near Oroville. We took a couple of brides in their wedding gowns out into the flower-covered fields and shot them. (Don't worry, we used cameras only. No brides were harmed in the making of these photos.) We also made good use of the giant oak tree in the edge of the field.

Posted by Greg on April 5, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under bridals, photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (5)

Filed under babies and children, coates family, photos and portraits.

CSU, Chico Exhibit

California State University, Chico is having an art exhibit for Faculty and Staff. It opens Monday, April 2, and runs through May 18, 2007, and it will be hanging in the Kendall Hall building. There is an opening reception on Wednesday, April 11 from 4:30pm to 5:30pm in the Kendall Hall Rotunda.

I will have two pieces hanging in the show: Icicles and Cascade and Cove Creek Falls. I'd like to invite all of my Northern California readers to stop in and take a look. I'd love to see you at the reception as well!

Posted by Greg on March 28, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under business, nature and photos.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, coates family, photos and portraits.

Sara

Despite all the media attention on examples to the contrary, there truly are amazing teenagers out there paving their way in the world. Sara is absolutely one of those teens. Amazing eyes and a contagious laugh made her a blast to photograph. Sara, thanks so much for the opportunity to photograph you!

Posted by Crystal on March 22, 2007 at 12:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (2)

Filed under babies and children, families, photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under babies and children, photos and portraits.

Pismo Beach Bridal Shoot - OSP West

Saturday afternoon at OSP West, we did a bridal shoot in downtown Pismo Beach led by Kenneth Morgan. By then, the rain had slowed from the downpour that we experienced during the morning engagement shoot to a few sprinkles. Here are my favorite photos from the shoot. (Thanks, Kenneth, for leading us!)

Posted by Greg on February 23, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (3)

Filed under bridals, photos and portraits.

Avila Beach Engagement Shoot - OSP West

Saturday morning at OSP West we had an engagement shoot scheduled at Avila beach. The problem was, it was raining. A lot. Fortunately, our models were willing to brave the nasty weather, so we all threw plastic bags over our cameras and did the shoot anyway. It's a good thing too, because the pictures that resulted are beautiful, romantic, and different from the typical dry weather engagement photos.

I'd like to say thanks to John Michael Cooper for leading this shoot!

Posted by Greg on February 21, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under engagements, photos and portraits.

Robert Hall Winery Engagement Shoot - OSP West

The first shoot that I got to participate in at OSP West was an engagement session at the Robert Hall Winery led by photographer Mike Larson. The vineyards were bare because of the season, but the architecture of the building on the grounds is very beautiful, so we made good use of that during the shoot.

Thanks for leading our shoot, Mike!

Posted by Greg on February 20, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under engagements, photos and portraits.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, photos and portraits.

Lauren

A couple of weeks ago I took Lauren to an awesome place for photos here in Chico. There are a bunch of murals painted on several bridges. We had a great time. She was a great model! Thanks Lauren for the opportunity to photograph you.

Posted by Crystal on February 15, 2007 at 7:54PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under photos and portraits.

Mamaw Cooking and Combing

In addition to the portraits of Mamaw that I created when I was at her house, I also created some images of her combing her hair and cooking lunch. (Lunch was absolutely delicious, by the way!) Here are some of the images:

Posted by Greg on January 26, 2007 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under coates family, photos and portraits.

Welcome, Crystal!

I'm very excited to announce that my wife Crystal is going to be joining me as an active photographer for Divine Reflections Photography! She's quite talented, and working with her is going to be a great joy for me.

Here's a sample of her skills:

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

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under business, photos and portraits.

Mamaw

One of my earliest memories of Mamaw, my grandmother, is watching her comb and then braid her long, gray hair. While in North Carolina over Christmas, Mamaw agreed to take her hair down for me so that I could create some portraits of her. Here are my two favorite images from the session:

 

Posted by Greg on January 12, 2007 at 11:20PM.

Permalink / Comments (2)

Filed under coates family, photos and portraits.

Mom and Dad

My parents came to California to visit over the summer. While they were here, I took the opportunity to do a quick photo shoot with them. They've been married for over 30 years, and they are more in love now than they were on their wedding day. Here are a few of my favorite images from the session:

Posted by Greg on December 12, 2006 at 10:00PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under photos and portraits.

Chosen for Awesome Photographs

I'm happy to report that my "Lone Tree and Storm Clouds" image has been chosen to be featured on the Awesome Photographs site. Awesome Photographs features photographs that are chosen by the editors as worthy of the awesome photograph designation. Having my photo chosen is an accomplishment that I'm pretty proud of!

Posted by Greg on November 9, 2006 at 12:49PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under business and photos.

Waterfall on Bubbling Springs Branch

In timing my trip to North Carolina last summer, I missed the peak fall color by a couple of weeks. Instead of leaving with no images, I tried to focus my photography on capturing the essence of the transition from summer to fall. This image of the Waterfall on Bubbling Springs Branch is one such image. The pockets of color add interest to an otherwise plain green waterfall image.

Posted by Greg on November 3, 2006 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Lassen Sunrise

On my recent Lassen trip, I dragged myself out of the tent before sunrise to scout a place to watch the sun come up. I found this view right next to the park road. The colors were magical that morning, and I captured this image. (I believe that the lake in the image is Juniper Lake, but I need to study my map a bit more to be sure.)

Posted by Greg on October 26, 2006 at 5:00PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under nature and photos.

Painted Dunes

There are some amazing geological features in Lassen Volcanic National Park. These painted dunes are one of the more interesting and beautiful. I took this photo from the top of the Cinder Cone volcano.

Posted by Greg on October 20, 2006 at 11:20PM.

Permalink / Comments (4)

Filed under nature and photos.

Chaos Crags, Lassen Peak, and Manzanita Lake

Here's another image from my recent Lassen trip. It includes the Chaos Crags, Lassen Peak, and the reflections of the mountains in Manzanita Lake. This was a highly enjoyable way to spend the last hour or so of the day before the sun disappeared for the night.

Posted by Greg on October 3, 2006 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (5)

Filed under nature and photos.

View from Devil's Courthouse Overlook

I just finished up the roll of film that contained the last few images from my trip to North Carolina last summer. I like the layered mountain ranges in the image, which was taken from the parking area at Devil's courthouse.

Posted by Greg on September 27, 2006 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under nature and photos.

Lassen Stream and Wildflowers

A few week ago, I took a camping trip to Lassen National Park to relax and unwind a bit after the craziness of the last few months. I got to do quite a bit of photography, and this is my favorite image from the trip. I used my Nikon F100, Nikkor 24mm lens, and Fuji Velvia.

Posted by Greg on September 19, 2006 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

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.

Permalink / Comments (5)

Filed under babies and children, coates family and photos.

Janeese and Jerry

Janeese and Jerry got married this past Saturday in Napa. Photographing their wedding was great fun as they come from fun-loving families who know how to have a good time. Here are a few of my favorite images from the wedding. Congratulations!

Posted by Greg on July 28, 2006 at 9:30PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under photos and weddings.

Prom: Getting Ready

I took some pictures of one of my nieces getting ready for the prom. I was experimenting with available light photography with a new film/developer combination: Delta 3200 in Ilford DD-X. (I rated the film at 1250.) Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results. The grain is much finer than I expected from a film of that speed. Here are a few of the images:

Posted by Greg on June 12, 2006 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos and portraits.

Toys

Here's a found still life that I enjoy. These are a few of my daughter's toys on the floor in her room:

Posted by Greg on June 6, 2006 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under photos.

Twisted Tree

Lower Bidwell Park has some really amazing trees. The branches make wonderful twisted, contorted patterns that are especially visible during the winter months. Here is an image of the top of one of those trees against a cloudy sky.

Posted by Greg on May 30, 2006 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under nature and photos.

Forest Floor, Bidwell Park

I finally have some new pictures. Life is hectic, but I still carry my camera with me on a regular basis. Here is an image of the forest floor in Lower Bidwell Park near one of the walking trails.

Posted by Greg on May 22, 2006 at 12:00PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Place of a Thousand Drips

I created this image while my wife and I were on our honeymoon. The Place of a Thousand Drips is located right next to the road along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Posted by Greg on April 21, 2006 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Creation Falls

Here's another image from the archives. Creation Falls is located in the Red River Gorge National River and Recreation Area in Kentucky.

Posted by Greg on April 17, 2006 at 8:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Band Practice

I was going through my black and white archives today, and I found a few images that I like that I haven't shared yet. My nephew Stewart played bass guitar for a band called New Method for quite a while. I took my camera to one of his practice sessions, and these images are what I came up with. They were taken on Kodak T-Max 3200 film.

Stewart

Johnny

Stewart

Posted by Greg on April 12, 2006 at 11:53AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family, photos and portraits.

Sycamore Pool Spillway

One of the most popular features of Lower Bidwell Park is the Sycamore Pool. A metal gate is used to dam the water to make a swimming pool. The water flowing over the gate makes fascinating patterns. Here's my take on capturing these patterns.

Posted by Greg on March 30, 2006 at 11:55AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Bidwell Park Jugglers

This is the latest image from my street performers project. I was walking in the park with my daughter when I noticed these jugglers across the creek. I took several shots, and this is the one I like the best. I was using my Nikon F100, Nikon 75-150mm lens, and Kodak Tri-X film.

Posted by Greg on March 27, 2006 at 1:03PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under photos and portraits.

Skinny Dip Falls

Skinny Dip Falls is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway not too far from Graveyard Fields. It's one of my favorite spots on the entire Parkway.

Posted by Greg on March 22, 2006 at 3:52PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Early Fall Mountainside

It rained for several days during my trip to North Carolina, but I didn't let that stop me from creating images. On the last day of my trip that was set aside for photography, I drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway to see if I could find any fall color at all. As in most of the other places I had been, the color was just starting. I noticed this hillside with a few colored trees. I pulled the car to the side of the road and composed this image under my umbrella. I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. The wet road and fog add interest to this scene.

Posted by Greg on March 14, 2006 at 12:39PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Lassen National Park Snow

On Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday, my wife and I took our children to Lassen Volcanic National Park to go sledding. I took my camera gear along. That turned out to be a good decision as the park had gotten around 2 feet of fresh snow the day before. We walked up the packed snow that covered the main park road, and I found this composition of the snow-covered mountain and trees. Some fog floated in for a finishing touch.

This image was made with my Mamiya RB67, Mamiya 127mm lens, and Fuji Velvia.

Posted by Greg on March 3, 2006 at 8:38AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Continued Gallery Representation

I'm happy to report that I have another photo that will be hanging at the Gallerie de Souza in Chico. Long time readers of my blog will remember that this is the gallery that accepted one of my photos into the Bidwell Park Centennial Exhibit. The piece that has been accepted this time is "Shrub Skeletons".

Posted by Greg on February 27, 2006 at 12:16PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under business, nature and photos.

Fall Begins, Shining Rock

Here's another photo from my North Carolina trip from last year. I had hoped that my trip would coincide with the peak of fall color in the high elevations on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but fall came very late this year. There were only a few trees turning when I visited, which made for a nice contrast against the green shrubs and evergreens. This photo was made from beside a trail in the Black Balsam area, adjacent to the Shining Rock Wilderness.

Posted by Greg on February 23, 2006 at 1:52PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Craggy Gardens in Fog

I finally have scans of the first images from my trip to North Carolina back in October. These are scans from traditional prints that I had made as proofs. They aren't the best, but they do show the images effectively. I'll have drum scans made when I print them next.

Here is the first image. It was taken at the Craggy Gardens picnic area on the Blue Ridge parkway. It's an image that I had been wanting to capture for some time, and the conditions fell together perfectly on this trip. This image was created with my Mamiya RB67 camera.

Posted by Greg on February 16, 2006 at 1:59PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Sycamore Pool and Trees

One of the most popular features of Lower Bidwell Park is the Sycamore Pool in the One Mile Recreation Area. The pool is an area of the creek that has concrete sides and is dammed in the summer. Next to the pool is a grassy area with huge, beautiful trees. This is what those trees look like in sunset light.

Posted by Greg on February 13, 2006 at 9:24AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Frozen Waterfall

My family and I went to Lassen National Forest just south of the national park this winter to cut a Christmas tree. We noticed this waterfall and accompanying icicles beside the road, and I stopped to take a picture. I used my Nikon F100, Nikon 75-150mm lens, and Kodak T-Max 400.

Posted by Greg on February 10, 2006 at 9:58AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children and photos.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children and photos.

Below Skinny Dip Falls

One of my favorite spots along the Parkway in North Carolina is the area around Skinny Dip Falls, not too far from Graveyard Fields. This photo includes the drop just below the main waterfall. This is one of the first photos I made with the 24mm lens on my Nikon F100.

Posted by Greg on January 24, 2006 at 11:45AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Tree Reflection

This tree reflected in the still water of a Big Chico Creek pool in Bidwell Park caught my eye. I used my Nikon F100, 50mm lens, and Kodak T-Max 400 film to create this image.

Posted by Greg on January 19, 2006 at 10:00AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Fern Falls

Here's a more traditional image of Fern Falls than the first photo I posted of this waterfall. I ended up waiting next to my tripod for almost an hour before the sun that had been filtering randomly through the tree went away and allowed me to get this shot in even lighting.

Posted by Greg on January 9, 2006 at 3:28PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Cinder Cone

One of my vacations last summer was to Lassen National Park. We decided to climb the Cinder Cone one afternoon. I lugged my photo pack up this trail, which is much steeper than the picture would have you believe. The light didn't really cooperate while we were on top of the peak, but I turned around and saw this view as we were leaving. This was made with the Mamiya RB67, 127mm lens, and Fuji Velvia.

Posted by Greg on January 3, 2006 at 8:22AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Tree, Grate, Leaves

I was wandering around downtown Chico a few weeks ago when this scene caught my eye. I thought, "Hey! That looks like a photo Dave Beckerman would take." Click. So, Dave, if you're reading this, this photo is a tribute to you and your work.

Posted by Greg on December 19, 2005 at 5:57PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Shrub Skeletons

This is the first image that I took for my Bidwell Park project. I haven't posted it before now because I couldn't get a scan from the print I have that looked decent. This scan was made on an Epson flatbed scanner, and it's at least good enough for the web. It really needs a drum scan to pull out the fine detail, especially in the branches of the white shrubs.

This is also one of the first landscape images I have created that I feel is truly artistic. I was drawn to the contrast between the shrubs that look like skeletons and the green cliffs. When I found this arrangement of curved bushes, I knew I had found an image I would love. I was right!

Posted by Greg on December 16, 2005 at 12:59PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Icicles and Cascade on Ebay

I've decided to run a little experiment. I've listed an 11x17 print of Icicles and Cascade on ebay. It's a piezography print on Hahnemuhle photo rag, and the opening bid is only 49.95. This is a chance to get this print for far less than my usual selling prices.

Posted by Greg on December 13, 2005 at 8:09AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under business, nature and photos.

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.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under babies and children and photos.

Gallery Photos

Just before the Bidwell Park Tribute Exhibit finished up, I took a few pictures of the exhibit and people looking at the exhibit. Here are a couple of them:

Posted by Greg on December 8, 2005 at 5:16PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under business and photos.

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.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under babies and children, business, photos and portraits.

Misty Lagoon

Here's an image from two summers ago. The mist caught my eye. This one of the lagoons in Humboldt Lagoons State Park.

Posted by Greg on November 22, 2005 at 10:02AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Ferns and Fern Falls

I'm starting to get a few images processed from the summer trips I took. Here's the first one:

This is an image of some ferns in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in Northern California. Appropriately, that's Fern Falls in the background.

Posted by Greg on November 18, 2005 at 2:35PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Bottled Water

The local community college, Butte College, has a very good photography program. I've been taking a Photo Studio Arts class this semester. I finally got some studio time a couple of weeks ago, and I decided to shoot bottled water. I quickly discovered that taking pictures of glass and plastic, or anything reflective, for that matter, is quite difficult. I worked for an hour and a half before I ran out of time. The final result is not perfect, but I'm pretty happy with it.

This image was made with a Leaf digital back on a Hasselblad camera.

Posted by Greg on November 11, 2005 at 12:00PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under photos.

Foggy Cliff

Here's another image from the Bidwell Park series. I love taking pictures in fog, so when I looked out the window this day and saw the fog, I grabbed my camera and headed for the park. This scan is not the best, but if you look carefully, you can see what caught my eye: the contrast between the shrub in the lower right corner, the green cliffs and rocks, and the foggy trees at the top. This image was created with the Mamiya RB67.

Posted by Greg on November 2, 2005 at 2:35PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Japanese Garden Waterfall

Portland has a beautiful Japanese garden. We stopped there last year after our trip to the Columbia River Gorge. This waterfall caught my eye.

Posted by Greg on October 24, 2005 at 11:27AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Wahkeena Falls

Here's another image from our trip to the Columbia River Gorge last fall. This image of Wahkeena Falls was made with the Mamiya RB 67 and 127mm lens.

Posted by Greg on September 7, 2005 at 10:01PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

San Diego Bay Panorama

My wife went to San Diego last November for a business trip. I joined her so that I could create some images. It was a fairly unproductive trip until the last day, when I went to Cabrillo National Monument. I hiked down the trail to the edge of the bay where I captured some good images of the skyline and the many sailboats that were in the bay that afternoon. This panoramic image that I cropped from a 6x7 transparency is my favorite.

Posted by Greg on September 3, 2005 at 5:43PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

First Exhibit!

I made it into the Bidwell Park Centennial exhibit! This will be my first group exhibit, and I'm very excited about it. My picture of the lone tree and storm clouds was accepted by the jurors.

The exhibit opens September 25 at the Gallerie de Souza on 3rd Street in downtown Chico. Stop by if you're in the area!

Posted by Greg on August 30, 2005 at 11:29AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under business and photos.

Green

Here's another picture from the Bidwell Park portfolio I'm working on. These trees are on the banks of Alligator Hole. This image is also a good example of why scanning prints on a flatbed scanner is not a good way to get images onto a website. The scan just can't resolve the detail that is present in the leaves.

Posted by Greg on August 24, 2005 at 10:23PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Columbia River Gorge

When I had my Bidwell Park proof prints made, I also had some proofs printed from images of last year's trips to the Columbia River Gorge and San Diego. Here's one of my favorites from the Columbia River Gorge trip:

It was made just after sunset from the Crown Poinst Overlook next to the Vista House. I used my Mamiya RB, Mamiya 127mm lens, and Fuji Velvia.

Posted by Greg on August 14, 2005 at 1:42PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.

Exhibit Submission Photos

I had several of my medium format slides printed yesterday so I could make a better decision of which to submit for the Bidwell Park Centennial exhibit. I'm going to have these four printed at 11x14 today. They will probably be the final submission, but I'll wait to decide for sure until I have the prints in my hands.

Posted by Greg on August 6, 2005 at 1:27PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under business and photos.

Blue Marvellz

One of the bands playing at the Thursday Night Market was an R&B band called the Blue Marvellz. They were good; I enjoyed listening to them as much as I liked photographing them.

Saxaphone

Blue Marvellz

The lady in the background running the sound was cracking me up. She danced to the music like a teenager.

Posted by Greg on July 8, 2005 at 1:05PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family and photos.

Street Magician

Here are a couple more images from the Thursday Night Market roll. This street magician is also a psychology student at CSU, Chico. His tricks played on the mind as well as the eyes as the facial expressions of the assistants show.

Washing Down Needles

Is It Empty?

In the trick I'm showing here, he swallowed about 50 needles, swallowed a piece of thread, and then pulled out the thread with all the needles threaded onto it. It looked painful! :)

Posted by Greg on July 6, 2005 at 8:08PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family and photos.

Belly Dancers

I developed the roll of film from the Chico Thursday Night Market. (I'm using Tri-X for this project.) Here are a couple of the promised pictures of the belly dancers.

Dancing Bellies

Dancing in the Street

Posted by Greg on July 4, 2005 at 11:34AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family and photos.

Stewart Playing Bass

Here's one from the archives. My nephew played the bass in New Method, his church youth group praise band. This is from one of his rehearsals. It was shot on Kodak T-Max 3200.

Posted by Greg on July 1, 2005 at 9:45PM.

Permalink / Comments (1)

Filed under coates family and photos.

Silver Dollars and Beagles

I developed the second roll of film from the Silver Dollar Fair before we left for vacation, and I finished up the scans yesterday. There are also some photos of Gracie, our beagle, on that roll. Here are a couple of the best images:

These were taken with my Nikon F100, 75-150mm lens, and Kodak T-Max 100 film.

Posted by Greg on June 23, 2005 at 9:17PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family and photos.

Silver Dollar Fair

This past weekend we went to the fair. We spent the afternoon watching the circus, riding rides, and eating junk food. I used the opportunity to create some images.

Some were action:

Some were abstract details of the rides:

All of the above were taken with my Nikon F100, Nikon 75-150mm Series E Lens, and Kodak T-Max 400 film.

Posted by Greg on June 2, 2005 at 12:35AM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under coates family and photos.

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.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under babies and children, photos and portraits.

Columbia River Gorge Trip Report

Last October, my wife and I took a weekend trip to Portland and the Columbia River Gorge to do some photography. This website wasn't around back then, so I'll share our experiences now. The full report is in the new Columbia River Gorge Article.

Posted by Greg on May 25, 2005 at 4:28PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature, photos and trip reports.

Bidwell Park Project

Bidwell Park is one of the ten largest municipal parks in the country, and it is right here in Chico. It's divided into two parts: Lower Park and Upper Park. Lower park is what I consider a typical city park. It has picnic areas, playgrounds with jungle gyms, a swimming hole, and paved paths. Upper Park is different than any city park I've ever seen. It exists on the edge of the Sierra Nevada foothills, and it is rugged and wild, especially in the upper areas far from the entrance.

I've given myself an assignment to photograph Upper Park. I'm amazed by the beauty that lies within the Chico city limits. The park encompasses cliffs, a deep creek gorge, and meadows. There are trails along the creek, on both canyon rims, and in several places in between. I started hiking the trails in December of last year, and I'm going back as often as I can to explore and look for images.

Business-wise, I think this is a good move because I believe the photos will sell well in my local market. I'll work to get an exhibit in a local gallery when the project is finished. I may even work on putting a book together if the number of finished images is large enough to warrant it.

Unfortunately, I can't post any of my images from this project just yet because I don't have a scanner that will handle the big transparencies. (I'm using my Mamiya RB to photograph this project. It gives me 6x7cm images.) In the meantime, here's a 35mm black and white image of one of the power towers in the park:

Posted by Greg on May 16, 2005 at 4:51PM.

Permalink / Comments (0)

Filed under nature and photos.