Victoria and Matt | — Vesta Irene —

Victoria and Matt

Victoria and Matt's Engagement Photo 001 at Sand Harbor in Lake Tahoe, by Ken Douglas and Vesta Irene

I don’t wanna pay that extra thirty cents a gallon anymore.

Vesta and I went up to Lake Tahoe’s gorgeous Sand Harbor to shoot Victoria and Matt’s engagement photos on a cold, windy, overcast day. Overcast is good for photos, but maybe the biting breeze and chilly cold are not so good for the photographers.

However, we made good pictures and had a good time.

Victoria and Matt's Engagement Photo 005 at Sand Harbor in Lake Tahoe, by Ken Douglas and Vesta Irene

And when we were finished, we drove to Costco in Carson City, where we got gas, cuz they don’t have that thirty cents tax on every gallon of gas you buy like they do in Washoe County, where Reno and Midtown happen to be and where we happen to live.

I swear, George Harrison was right, give ‘em a chance, they’ll even tax your feet.

It’s not that I object to taxes altogether, but somehow those folks in Fernley, Fallon and Carson City are surviving just fine without that extra thirty cents going into the local government coffers.

Victoria and Matt's Engagement Photo 002 at Sand Harbor in Lake Tahoe, by Ken Douglas and Vesta Irene

I don’t wanna pay it anymore.

So now I gotta figure out a reason to drive to Carson City once a week, where they got the closest gas station to our house that doesn’t charge that extra thirty cents. That’s thirty miles away. Thirty miles to save thirty cents a gallon. And, of course, an hour or so of our time.

Victoria and Matt's Engagement Photo 003 at Sand Harbor in Lake Tahoe, by Ken Douglas and Vesta Irene

But I don’t wanna pay it anymore.

They got Costco in Carson City, but they got one in Reno and one in Sparks and they’re both a heck of a lot closer to our house then the one in Carson City.

They got one of the better Grocery Outlets in Carson City. Their wine guy really knows his stuff, so they’ve always got a good, inexpensive selection. But they got a fairly good Grocery Outlet in Sparks.

They got a Trader Joe’s in Carson City. We’ve never been, cuz we got a good one in Reno, which we go to about every day.

They got the Laundry Lounge in Carson city, which is a lot like the Duds n’ Suds we got in Reno.

So, if we stopped going to Trader Joe’s everyday. Stopped going to Costco three times a week. Stopped going to Grocery Outlet at least twice a week, oftentimes more. And if we took our laundry with us. Well, you get where I’m going with this, don’t you?

Victoria and Matt's Engagement Photo 004 at Sand Harbor in Lake Tahoe, by Ken Douglas and Vesta Irene

We could maybe save enough time if we Costcoed, Trader Joed and WinCoed once a week in Carson City, instead of going to them so often in Reno, to make up for the time and the gas for trip and we could get the cheap gas too.

Cuz I don’t wanna pay that extra thirty cents a gallon anymore.

Anyway, gripe over, I hope you look at and enjoy Victoria and Matt’s engagement photos.


Because Vesta and I trained in black and white and because we developed our photos in black and white and because we shot all over the world with black and white film, we have a certain affinity for black and white, especially when doing portrait photography. Actually we do quite a bit of wedding photography in black and white as well.

One of the main reasons we love black and white, especially when shooting portraits, is that color can be distracting. Black and white forces us to pay more attention to our subjects and the background and it also makes us pay more attention to composition and, of course, light and shadow play a much bigger role in a black and white photograph.

Actually, when we set our cameras to shoot only in monochrome we actually see light differently and we pay much more attention to the quality and quantity of it.

And, as I’ve said elsewhere here, black and white portraits can establish an emotional connection between the viewer and the subjects in the photograph, we think so anyway.

There are a lot of other reasons why we like black and white, but I feel I should add one more here and that’s the timeless look of a beautiful black and white photograph, especially a black and white portrait.


We do a lot of HDR photography, but we try not to go over the top, to make the photo look like a cartoon or fake. And we try not to make a dynamic background overshadow the people we’re photographing, because there is nothing worse than a portrait where the viewers eye is drawn to everything else in it except the people.

We used five exposures to make the portrait above and we could have really popped the background and that would’ve been great, if Vicky and Matt wouldn’t have been in the picture. So, instead, we didn’t emphasize the background nearly as much as we could have.

Victoria and Matt 057

Shooting in Sand Harbor, especially toward the end of the day is a dream location. Plus, it’s the only beach on the Nevada side of the lake to have sandy shores, so you can get those bare feet in the water kind of shots if you want. However, I should say that’s mostly for summer photo sessions, because in the winter that water is awfully cold.


To me, this is a perfect engagement portrait. The happy couple seem like they’re alone on the beach, like we’re not even there.

Victoria and Matt 127

Engagement session over, we headed back to the parking lot and our cars, when Vesta spotted these Christmas wreaths on these doors of the Sand Harbor gift shop and since it was a few days till Christmas, we decided to take a Christmassy portrait.

And then they hired us to photograph their wedding. That happens sometimes and we’re pleased as can be, especially if we have their date free and we did.

Though sometimes, and sadly it’s happened more than once, twenty-seven times one year, we’re not free and we have to tell the couple we’re photographing that we cannot do their wedding. Whenever that happens Vesta and I cry all the way home, because it really is so sad.

Victoria and Matt 128

Lastly, since Matt got a new truck and since he adorned one of the windows with a huge Wolfpack logo, we had to get their photograph with it and here it is. Yellow, what a great color for a truck.

Vesta Irene Wedding and Portrait Photography, 1250 Ralston Street, Reno, NV 89503 
Phone: 775 393-9529