And the photo with the most votes is.....#4!
Definitely one of my favorites from the year. When this little guy's mommy showed me this elephant, my initial reaction was, "What in the world am I going to do with that? It's HUGE!" :D But he was such an amazing sleeper and he let me pose him so easily that I by the end of the session, I knew that we could do something.
For those interested, here's how I did it. The elephant was a bit floppy, so I knew that I would need mom's help with this set-up. I put the elephant down first and then sat the baby with my left hand under his head/chin/chest. My right hand began to arrange the elephant so that his legs, arms, and trunk were all snuggling around the baby. I made sure one of baby's feet was showing and then arranged his little fingers on the elephant's paw. (is that the right word? paw?) What you don't see is his mom's hand under the blue blanket to the left of the photo, holding up the elephant and baby's head. She was pushing gently so that they stayed upright and didn't slump over. The rest is just great lighting, a bit of post-processing in Lightroom/Photoshop and a tight crop to fill the frame. And the result is magical!
Thanks for all your votes - and congratulations to our winner!
Here is how the top 5 rounded out: