We went up to Tahoe last weekend and on Saturday night caught the sunset from Speedboat Beach on the north shore.
I really enjoy photographing sunsets and with this one in particular I got a little out of hand running around snapping photos like crazy. I kept thinking “Wow these picture are turning out great.” But when I looked through all my photos later that night, I realized that I sort of hated them. Even the ones I’m posting here made me feel uneasy. The colors were so rich and the scenery with the rocks in the water was so idyllic that the photos came out looking like something that would hang on the wall of a dentist’s office. And I really dislike dental art.
Even this cabin photo, which I was really excited about when I took it, later looked to me like something that might appear on one of those corny motivational posters. I couldn’t figure out why I’d been so pleased as I took the photos only to later turn on them after the moment was over.
The more I thought about it the more I realized that the photos had an overly-idealized quality to them. But, that evening at the lake was very idyllic. I remember that as the sun set there was no wind, it was a little cold but not too bad, and the lake was placid and silent. A few other people moved around on the beach taking in the rising moon and the fading sunlight but most of them spoke only in whispers when they spoke at all. The pastel colors reflected on the lake and the moonlight glittered on the water. It was perfect, and in my rush to capture the moment I discarded all restraint and glossed over an already glossy scene.
Dentist office art is supposed to make you feel a sense of serenity, but it is a false serenity because whenever I go to the dentist I’m nervous and jittery; so when I see photos or paintings that remind me of a dentist’s office I immediately hate them because I feel like they are trying to trick me. The same is true of Kenny G. When I was a kid, the dentist would always play Kenny G’s Greatest Hits in the lobby right before I had to go in and get seven teeth pulled. So maybe I just have hang-ups generally about anything that reminds me of the dentist office. Nothing against dentists themselves, their choice of art just brings out my cynical side.
I don’t hate these photos outright. If I did I wouldn’t be posting them here. I’m also not saying you should feel bad if you like them. I think they do a nice job of capturing the splendor of Tahoe. And maybe that’s just the way Tahoe is — so beautiful that it almost doesn’t seem real.
I don’t want to sound like I’m being a humble bragger either, saying my photos are too beautiful or too well done. I just found it so strange that I could love the photos as I was taking them and then turn so suddenly on them just hours later. I know I’m a cynic, but I blame the dentists for prejudicing me against my own work.