Amazing Aerial VideographyAmazing Aerial Videography

Looking for great aerial videography in North Carolina? Want to make your marketing soar? Clear Sky Images has what you need! Meet the Quadcopter.

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The Latest Technology in Aerial Videography

This beauty is the Matrix by Turbo Ace. It has a 1.2 meter wingspan and the most advanced and effective navigation and stabilization hardware on the market. Plus, the Matrix is capable of extended flight times, up to triple that of our competitors’ platforms. One of the coolest features of the Quadcopter is its GPS based auto-navigation, which enables us to fly the same exact shot every single time: one week, six months, or even five years later! And with the drone, we can easily reschedule in the case of inclement weather, and we still offer you the fastest turnaround for aerial videography and photography.

Smooth and Accurate

Check out this video we captured of the New Red Ventures facility, built by Choate Construction. Notice how smooth and jitter-free the footage is. This kind of detail and imagery composition is not achievable with traditional aircraft. It is made possible by the Matrix’s highly sophisticated gimbal, which ensures the smoothest possible video and full control of framing. Plus, the instant air-to-ground video link guarantees absolute accuracy. Only this system allows us to use cinematic techniques to create such high-quality video!

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Take a look at one of our recent galleries of aerial real estate images. This gallery contains photos of the gorgeously landscaped Lake Pointe Center. Notice how the Quadcopter and its professional grade camera and lenses were able to capture incredible detail with no distortion! You certainly won’t get results anywhere near this good with a $200 GoPro!
Contact us today for more information on how to get the best aerial videography in North Carolina (and elsewhere… we have been known to travel!) working for you!

How to Prepare for your Commercial Photo ShootHow to Prepare for your Commercial Photo Shoot

So you’ve scheduled a photo shoot for your real estate property. You want to get the best images possible, in order to attract potential renters or buyers. But how can you make sure that the photo shoot will go as smoothly as possible? And how can you make the most out of the shoot?

There are a few things you can do prior to the shoot to ensure your property is at its most photogenic. This guide will help you get the highest quality photographs possible.

Preparation is an essential element for great imagery. Follow these simple steps to stand out from the ordinary. Not all of these items will be applicable to your site, but any help and foresight will make photo shoot day go smoothly.


Prior to the Shoot

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1. Have your lawn maintenance done no more than two days before, preferably the day before the photo shoot.

2. Remove dead plantings around your clubhouse and signage.

3. If nighttime photos are included in your photo package, please ensure that all exterior lighting at the front and rear areas of the clubhouse and/or pool are working and able to be illuminated before sunset or one hour before sunrise, depending upon when the photographer has decided to shoot twilight photos. This may mean relocating solar cell sites so that they may be triggered early or adjusting any timers.

4. Check all exterior light fixtures and replace burned out bulbs and locate switches.

5. Check out all clubhouse and model lamps/fixtures and replace burned out bulbs.

6. Replace or repair any damaged equipment/nets in the amenity areas.

7. Ensure that all pool furniture/umbrellas are in proper working order.

8. Alert residents to the possibility that the pool and other amenity areas will be closed for several hours the day of the photo shoot. Please also request residents to remove items such as towels and clothing from balconies and if possible to do a general straightening of their balcony or porch area.

9. To ensure your interior spaces look their best, make sure all of the lighting is in the same temperature rating. On the back of most light bulb boxes is a temperature rating in Kelvin (K). We recommend that all indoor lighting fixtures have a 5000K to 5500K bulb to represent a fairly close match to natural daylight. One of the easiest ways to manage this is to ask a lighting specialist at your local home improvement store. For highest quality, this means every light: kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, closets, hallways, dining room, ceiling fans. If you choose to go with a warmer temperature (yellow: 2500K to 3500K), your photos may be a little less true than a natural look. The most common problem we find to disrupt the positive mood of a model apartment is improperly balanced lighting. It is a simple fix and perhaps the single most important thing you can do to establish a pleasing feel to any space in the mind of your customer.

Day Before the Shoot

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1. Remove all temporary exterior signage or paraphernalia related to leasing information such as balloons, flyers, banners, etc. from the clubhouse and/or/monument signs.

2. Remove seasonal decorations from clubhouse, model and entrance.

3. Temporarily remove any inoperable pool furniture. Take time to stage the pool area such that all chairs, chaise lounges, tables, umbrellas, etc. are nicely arranged and consistent in appearance.

4. Vacuum and fill the pool.

5. Freshly rake volleyball courts and sand areas on the playground.

6. Deactivate sprinkler systems the day before the photo shoot to prevent pools of water or water stains from appearing in the photos.

7. Vacuum, dust and clean windows in the model, clubhouse and amenity areas.

8. Be sure all bedspreads and curtains are fairly wrinkle free.

9. Rope off exterior parking spaces in front of the clubhouse or place utility cones to prevent resident parking on the evening before the photo shoot.

10. Remind residents about amenity closings and removing items from balconies.


Day of the Shoot

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1. Blow off the clubhouse entrance walkway, common areas, and any amenities such as tennis and basketball courts in the morning.

2. Skim the pool for any floating debris.

3. Prepare a property map and key fob to grant access to all areas of the property.

4. If nighttime or twilight photos are a part of your package, arrangements will need to be made with the photographer to have interior lights left on and all blinds open in the clubhouse. This may involve sending someone back to turn things off at dark or leaving them on overnight for a dawn shoot. Firm arrangements can be discussed with the photographer upon arrival.

5. We will try to make this easy for you on the day of the shoot. Escorts are not necessary. Usually a quick meeting with the photographer upon arrival to discuss your property specifics and access to all the areas is all that will be needed.

And that’s it! Follow these simple steps and your photo shoot will go smoothly, and the resulting photographs will be stunning! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Reserve Your Real Estate Photo Shoot for Fall!Reserve Your Real Estate Photo Shoot for Fall!

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Outdoor real estate photography turns out so much nicer when there’s still some color in the trees and on the lawn! It’s September now, and our schedule is getting PACKED for fall, but we do still have some time slots available. If you’ve been putting off a professional quality real estate photo shoot of your property, now is the time to schedule!

Late summer and early fall images are perfect for promotional purposes. Plus, there tend to be less postponements due to weather this time of year.

Don’t wait until the landscape turns brown to make your decision! Act now! Contact us today to reserve your slot! And don’t forget to check out this post about how to get the most out of your real estate photo shoot. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Commercial Photographers in Charlotte’s EpiCentreCommercial Photographers in Charlotte’s EpiCentre

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Have we mentioned that we really love being commercial photographers in Charlotte? Especially when we hear news that one of the multimillion dollar properties we’ve shot has been acquired. We can’t help but feel a little flush of pride when that happens.

Yet another of the Charlotte NC landmarks we’ve had the chance to photograph has sold! The EpiCentre, on South College Street, was purchased in May 2014 by CIM Group, a Los Angeles based real estate firm that also owns uptown Charlotte’s BB&T Center building.

The 305,000 square foot complex features 255,512 square feet of retail space and 49,336 square feet of office space. It was 94% occupied at the time of the sale. Its tenants include Gold’s Gym, Studio Movie Grill, Strike City and sixteen restaurants.

If you live in Charlotte, or have ever visited its uptown, you are probably familiar with the EpiCentre. For one thing, it’s enormous, with indoor and outdoor shopping components, as well as event space. It’s one of those buildings that give Charlotte its southern-cosmopolitan look and feel.

We were very excited to have the opportunity to shoot this site. And we think we were able to get some great images! With an eye toward lighting and timing, we were able to expertly capture both the architectural features and the unique ambiance of the EpiCentre. See the results for yourself…

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If you would like to view the rest of the photos in this collection, visit the Charlotte EpiCentre gallery. For more information on the sale of the EpiCentre, see this article from the Charlotte Business Journal.  And if you are looking for professional, commercial photographers in Charlotte or elsewhere, please contact us! We’d be happy to give your property the multimillion dollar photography treatment!


The Alabama Theater in HoustonThe Alabama Theater in Houston

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We recently had the opportunity to shoot a very unique shopping center in Houston, Texas.

The Alabama Shephard Shopping Center is home to the historic Alabama Theater, built in 1939. Throughout its history, the theater’s period cinematic elements have fortunately been well preserved by forward-thinking owners and tenants.

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This picture was taken on the theater’s opening night in 1939.

For a time, the theater was used to house a Bookstop book store. Gary Hoover, one of the founders of Bookstop, stated that his architects set up the building’s interior so that it could be easily converted back into a theater in case the book store closed.

In 2004, the Alabama Shepherd Shopping Center was acquired by Weingarten Realty, who hired us to do this shoot. Weingarten was interested in preserving the historic building, and as luck would have it, Trader Joe’s was interested in opening its first Greater Houston area retail location in the theater.

At the time we photographed the shopping center, Trader Joe’s was just settling into its newest location. We think it is so cool that both Weingarten and Trader Joe’s opted to keep the old-timey theater marquee and other architectural details.

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Like many old shopping centers, the Alabama Shepherd suffered low occupancy rates and threatened demolition prior to the Trader Joe’s lease. But happily, due to the lease, the shopping center is now fully occupied. Due to the restoration of the old Alabama Theater, the Alabama Shepherd Shopping Center won the 2013 Landmark Award in Historic Preservation from the Houston Business Journal.

It was a pleasure to shoot this unique property. We truly relish our work! To see the rest of the photos from this shoot, visit the Alabama Shepherd gallery. And if you have a property (historic or otherwise) that needs its potential to be seen through a fresh lens, contact us!

Breathtaking Iceland Stock Photos!Breathtaking Iceland Stock Photos!

Wow! Check out these amazing Iceland stock photos!

Clear Sky Images owners, Brett and Shelly Osborne, love to travel to new and interesting places. They especially enjoy destinations where they can take in (and photograph!) some gorgeous natural beauty. They’ve visited and photographed places like Sedona, AZ and Catalina Island.

In October 2013, Brett and Shelly vacationed in the magnificent fairyland that is Iceland. Here is a small sampling of their journey in photographs!

In the shot below, you can see the geyser Strokkur erupting at sunset. He is the little brother of the original Geysir, for whom all other geysers are named. The autumn sunsets last for a whole hour in Iceland, so there was plenty of time to play around and capture the perfect shots.

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This is a picture of Gullfoss- a waterfall that is very similar to Niagara Falls in that it is a bowl waterfall. There are many dazzling waterfalls in Iceland.

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Below is a rare image of our lead photographer, Brett. We seldom get a chance to photograph the photographer! Behind Brett you can see the city of Reykjavik (Iceland’s capitol) in the background. It is a very old city, but well preserved and beautiful. The people are wonderfully friendly in Iceland, and Brett and Shelly really enjoyed their time in Reykjavik.

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Iceland is breathtakingly beautiful and Brett and Shelly can’t wait to return. Next time, they plan to travel in the summer when the sunsets last for several hours. That’s several hours of perfect outdoor photography lighting!

If you want to see more of Brett and Shelly’s Iceland images, check out the Iceland Stock Photos gallery. There are a lot more pictures of Reykjavik, of waterfalls and geysers, and some incredible Northern Lights stock photos to view.

Photographing Historic Sites – The Murchison BuildingPhotographing Historic Sites – The Murchison Building

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Photographing historic sites is one of our areas of expertise. Here is another historic North Carolina building that we recently had the pleasure of shooting prior to its sale.

The Murchison Building, located on Front Street in Wilmington, was completed in 1914 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was the tallest building in Wilmington until 2007, when the 12-story PPD headquarters was finished.

In its prime, this handsome edifice housed the Murchison National Bank, the Wilmington Morning Star and the Sunday Star-News. In recent years, its offices have been occupied by small businesses and professionals, but the building came quite close to succombing to the sad fate that befalls many historic high-rises. It needed new investment to prevent it from falling into disrepair, its legacy lost to future generations.

Enter Wilmington Development Partners, LLC, which closed on the property in June for $1.425 million, and plans to provide that much needed investment to restore the Murchison Building to its former glory. “Our goal is to address its needs first,” said the investment firm’s president, Thomas Simpson. “Everybody on our team is 100 percent on board with taking care of that building.”

No word yet on how the building will be put to use after renovations, but it is good to know that it will remain as a testament to the heritage of Wilmington and North Carolina for a long time to come. Just take a look at some of the beautiful images we captured of this stately building. We really love the shots that focus in on the little architectural details that make the Murchison Building unique.

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We love photographing historic sites! Check out the gallery for the rest of the images from the Murchison Building shoot. If you are a North Carolina history buff, or you just love pictures of historic places and architecture, check out the photos we shot of the R.J. Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem. And if you need amazing photography to help sell your property (historic or otherwise!) don’t hesitate to contact us for information.


Real Estate Marketing: Excellent Photography is Worth Millions!Real Estate Marketing: Excellent Photography is Worth Millions!

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Once again, our belief that gorgeous professional photography is essential to good real estate marketing is proven correct!

It is always so gratifying to see our work contribute to the sale of a property. Even more so when that property happens to be one of enduring historical and cultural significance. For instance, here is an historic property we photographed that recently sold for $7.8 mn.

The historic Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem is an art-deco style high rise that was erected in 1929. Built and formerly owned by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, it has been sold to a hotel development partnership. The Reynolds Building is also currently under consideration by the Forsyth County Historic Preservation Commission for induction to the National Register of Historic Places.

The developers’ plans for the historically significant edifice include a boutique hotel, restaurants and luxury apartments, according to a news release.

Here is a fun and interesting fact: the building garnered a lot of attention in 1929, when it was selected as Building of the Year by the National Association of Architects. Later, the Reynolds Building served as the model for the Empire State Building.

We shot both the exterior and interior of the building, and the resulting images are just brilliant, if we do say so ourselves. Take a look:

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We are so excited to have been able to photograph this beautiful piece of architecture, and so pleased that its future is secure and that it will remain for years to come as an important testament to the rich history and heritage of Winston-Salem and North Carolina.

If you want to view more of the shots we took, see the Reynolds Building gallery. And if you would like to learn more about the sale or about the building itself, here is an article from the Piedmont News Station.

Remember: Excellent photography sells real estate! There’s no doubt about it. If you are looking for fantastic images to improve your real estate marketing efforts, contact us today!


From Swine Waste to… Energy? Storms Farm Anaerobic DigesterFrom Swine Waste to… Energy? Storms Farm Anaerobic Digester

Storms Farm Anaerobic Digester

anaerobic digester

You know, there’s nothing we appreciate more than true innovation- surprising but elegant solutions to problems both old and new, implemented with efficient design by passionate individuals… that is humanity at its finest.

Which is why we are so excited and proud of this recent project that we shot for Barnhill Contracting of an ingenious machine they built at Storms Farm in Bladenboro, NC. Take a look at the above photos. It may seem like you are just looking at a bunch of clunky agricultural equipment. But this machine is the beautiful result of a quest for a workable solution to two problems faced by modern farmers.

1. How can we lower our energy costs?

2. What are we going to do with all this hog waste???

Believe it or not, the answer to both of these plaguing challenges is embodied in the machine you see in the above photos. It’s called an anaerobic digester, and it actually turns swine manure into electric energy.

Without getting into too much technical detail, it basically works like this: Manure collected daily from nearly 30,000 hogs is mixed with other agricultural waste and biologically decomposed in a huge, oxygen-free, reinforced concrete vessel. The bacteria in the digester break down the waste, eliminate the odor and pathogens, and produce an energy-rich biogas. The gas is then combusted in an engine/generator, producing enough electricity to offset the energy expenditures of around 300 average sized homes. Revenue from the sale of this renewable energy helps to support the farm’s operations.

In addition to solving problems for farmers, this technology also presents another unique option for the modern challenge we all face of obtaining energy without resorting to costly, non-renewable sources. And on top of all that, it is a wonderful step toward eliminating the pollution to waterways that has been attributed to large-scale agricultural operations.

Of course, the good folks at Barnhill didn’t invent the process (anaerobic digestion is a natural process as old as time, and is responsible for such delights as kimchi and sauerkraut), but the machine in question is the result of eight years of development. And Storms Farm is the first commercial farm in North Carolina to implement a swine waste to energy solution.

We applaud Barnhill and Storms Farm for helping to pioneer this high-potential innovation in renewable energy, and thank them for letting us play a very small role in the process. Check out the entire gallery here.

And if you are a pioneer, an innovator, or just an entrepreneur excited about your location or product, we would love to assist you in your marketing efforts by providing you with superior-quality photographic images! Contact us here to tell us about your project.


What can Aerial Photography do for Your Business?What can Aerial Photography do for Your Business?

Are you a business owner? Real estate investor? Then, like others in your industry, you are probably always seeking new and better ways to market your business or properties. Clear Sky Images is founded on the simple but often overlooked fact that incredible photography leads to incredible sales. We know that it takes a lot more than showing up and pressing a button to shoot stunning commercial and aerial photography like ours; it takes an exacting knowledge of the craft and attention to detail. We love what we do, and it shows, not only in the quality of our work, but in our relentless dedication to produce some of the most outstanding images in the business.

In this video, you will meet Brett and Shelly Osborne, owners of Clear Sky Images, and discover the huge impact professional quality commercial and aerial photography can have on your marketing efforts. Be sure to watch all the way to the end to catch some amusing outtakes! And if you enjoy the video, please be sure to like it on YouTube!

We look forward to working with you to capture the beauty of your architecture, the ambiance of your interior space, or the appeal of your product. Just like Brett says in the video, we are capable and experienced in photographing a huge range of project types, from real estate to food to landscape and interior design. We’ve photographed schools, medical facilities, and even agricultural operations. And yes, we do videos!

Take a look at some of our many galleries of amazing real estate, commercial and aerial photography. See what some of our past clients have to say about our work. Or contact us here to discuss your project and receive a quote. You won’t regret it, but your competitors might!