Looking for new things to photograph

Morning everyone.  My posts are a little scattered lately.  We have a lot going on here personally and it distracts away from my time on the computer, the blog, and sadly, the camera.  I picked up the camera last week for *gasp*, the first time in 2 weeks.  I had no interest in anything really.  Most of the time when I'm bored or need something to shoot I'll just bum around the house and find something like a macro shot, or just test settings on the camera to see what happens.

I couldn't even do that.  I tried to just keep my mind on other things.  Keep on working, playing some xbox, Destiny mainly.  (I'm Dragonfire7 if you need a buddy for raids).  Anyways, it was depressing.  I found out that I truly miss the passion of making images.  It's what puts my mind at ease, relaxes me, and keeps me sane.  Photography is not just one of those hobbies I pick up and can put down at will.  It's come to my attention that I must make images.  It's therapeutic.  

In the long run this should net out as ?  I spend all my money on gear, the gear lets me shoot, and I am happy.  No need for a shrink :).  

My therapy session last week was just around the corner.  We have a great little mini lake in the neighborhood and there's some wildlife all around.  The pond has a trail, it's full of reeds and plant life, a true ecosystem in it's own.   I shot manual during this session.  It sounds silly that I turned in all full auto Nikon gear only to shoot manual on my Sony a7rII but I love it.  The minolta Rokkor lenses are so much fun to shoot with.  Sony has a focus peaking feature which allows you to see an outline of subjects that are in focus through the viewfinder or the back display in live view.  I do have some auto glass that I use for paid gigs with fast moving targets, but for personal work it's fun to take out the manual lenses.  

Here are some shots that I got from that day.  The images are all shot as shallow as the lenses would allow.  the highest f stop I used was 2.8.  Depending on how far from the background your subject is, you can get some really cool bokeh.  

Hope you enjoy the gallery.  I posted a couple on Instagram as well so you may have seen 1 or 2.  Follow me there for updated work.  Take it easy, have a great weekend.  

We are not alone

We rotate every 24 hours.  We see the same stars at night, and every 27.5 days we get a chance to see so many of them.  The new moon is a special thing.  The moon is completely void of reflected light from the sun and this is when you can see many stars.  

Last night was clear and did not disappoint.  I drove out to Burnet from my town of Pflugerville.  It's about a 1 hour drive on highway 29.  Along the way you can see more deer than cars and the dark sky is littered with twinkles.  

I'm sewing my wild oats I suppose.  Pretty soon I'll have another little star in my life.  My second born will be here any day and we can't wait to welcome him into the world.  I figured last night was about the last time I could get out and not feel like I may need to race back home. 

There's a side farm road off 29 that takes you by Lake Buchanan.  I followed it along for a mile or so looking for a break where I could go shoot stars over the lake.  Unfortunately it's all private property and the dam was lit up so there was little point of shooting toward the water.  I took a road back in toward the neighborhood and stopped right at a T.  I put the car in park, got out and set up camp.  I had my flashers on for a minute but soon realized...I was the only one out there.  

converted to B&W with Nik Silver Efex 2.0

Thought I was miles away from the city, the light pollution was still very evident.  So many colors from amber to cyan cluttering the horizons.  It's a shame we can't have blackouts in certain areas.  Out in west Texas there are dark sky areas where the lights have certain covers and brightness is limited to allow for excellent visibility at night.  That is my dream spot for star photography.  I'll make a trip there around a new moon sometime.  

This last capture was posted on 500px.com/cody_ash.  It was my favorite from the day.  I exposed the road some in Lightroom and sharpened the stars up a bit.  Hope you enjoy the gallery.