Tracking with the Zehnder Family


I’ve heard it said that you can never go home. But while photographing the Zehnder family, I came within three blocks of the place.

Their youngest daughter had been born just a few months before. With that wonderful addition to the family, the Zehnders entered the glorious and exhausting Three Kid Club. You know, the club for people with three children. This was cause for celebration…and for some new family portraits, so they gave me a call.

Since they live in my old hometown, I figured this might be a great time to revisit my old stomping grounds instead of taking the family out to my photography spots on the other side of Sacramento. The lure of home must have been particularly strong that day, as I suggested a spot not more than a quarter-mile from my childhood home. Fortunately, the Zehnders are a flexible crew, and Amanda and Tyler didn’t bat an eye when I suggested that we meet at the railroad tracks.

Running around in nice clothes on loose granite? Sure! Carrying around an infant on high-traffic railroad tracks? Why not! Playing around concrete and rebar? You betcha!

So we met there at the rails late on a Sunday. Their casual and calm demeanor meant that everyone was up for anything. I hardly had to coax any hugs and kisses out of this bunch. The affection flows freely with the Zehnder clan. The last of this winter afternoon faded into sunset as I followed this lively and loving family around with my camera.

Why not take a peek at how we ended our day with the photos below?

Many thanks to the Zehnder family for letting me capture their wonderful family in action!

A little girl sits on a railroad rail while her family stands out of focus on the tracks.
“Got the rail all to myself,” she thought.


A little boy sits on a railroad rail while his family stands out of focus on the tracks.
“Dibs on this one,” he thought.


A young girl and her brother run down some railroad tracks, as she looks back toward the camera.
When the kids outrun the photographer.


Photo of a young boy balancing on a railroad track rail
You’ll never know if he caught his balance, will you?


A little girl hangs on to the back of her father while they pose for a portrait in front of railroad tracks.
Daddies are made for tackles like these.


A portrait of a young boy with a shallow depth of field, in front of a grassy backdrop
Little man.


A portrait photography of a little blond girl with big blue eyes, with shallow depth of field.


An infant smiles as her father leans in to kiss her on the forehead.
New kid on the block.


Portrait of a young blond woman wearing teal jewelry
Doesn’t look like she’s up all night with the little one.


A portrait photograph of a young caucasian man with spiked hair, dressed in a colorful plaid shirt.
You smile like this when you’ve got three kids!


A young mother smiles at her little baby girl
Pure love.


A little blond girl picks yellow wildflowers while the rest of her family poses for a portrait.
Addison preferred flower picking to posing.


A family of five poses for a portrait photo at sunset in a grassy clearning between some trees.
The whole lovable Zehnder gang.


A little girl and her brother stop to pose for a portrait photo in a grassy field at sunset.
Winter in California. Rather sunny.


A father, his son and daughter walk along a railroad track in profile
Being careful not to step on cracks, evidently.


A father and his two young children wave at a passing train engine
Greeting the speeding train.


A father and his two young children wave and point at a passing train.
Farewelling the speeding train.


A father and two children lounge on some concrete blocks in a grassy field
A pile of concrete and rebar: the stuff little boys’ dreams are made of.


A young mother and father hold their baby at sunset, against a backdrop of an old brick building
A moment of peace as the sun touched down. Come to think of it, little Ava was peaceful the entire time!


Portrait of a mother and her young daughter
A little bit of girl time.


A father holds his infant daughter aloft
This one ended up in the right family, I reckon.


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