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Small Town Texas

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The state of Texas has four of the eleven largest cities in the nation, yet one of the largest draws to the state is its small town lifestyle.  On a recent trip to the Panhandle we stopped and visited Dalhart, a town that was important to the construction of the Texas State Capitol.

 

As previously mentioned, the land in Austin where the Texas State Capitol sits was traded for three million acres in the Panhandle.  That land later became the XIT Ranch, the largest cattle ranch in the world.  Dalhart is also known as XIT City thanks to its long relationship with the famous XIT Ranch.  In addition to the XIT Museum, Dalhart also hosts the XIT Rodeo and Reunion every year in August.

 

The downtown area is very quaint, with its red brick roads and old storefronts.  The courthouse honors James R. Fox Jr, who was a pilot for Pan American Airways and flew missions during World War II through The Hump, which was the nickname given to the east end of the Himalayan Mountains.  Tragically his plane went down during the war, but the Chinese honored his memory by making a bronze bust in his honor and presenting it to the town.

 

While the history of the town is rich, the most awe-inspiring sight is without a doubt the sunsets.  Virtually every night the entire sky lights up with with bright reds, oranges and yellows, making for some breathtaking views.  Thanks to the outskirts of town being farmland, if you take a five minute drive you will find yourself on an empty road with nothing but the sky ahead of you.


To see the rest of our gallery please click here.

Texas State Capitol

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Completed in 1888, the Texas State Capitol is the home to the offices and chambers of the Texas Legislature and the Governor’s Office.  Standing at an impressive 308 feet tall, the Texas State Capitol is the sixth tallest in the nation, and is taller than the United State Capitol.  Designed by architect Elijah E. Myers, it is designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style.

 

Before construction could begin, the land in Austin, TX needed to be secured.  On February 15, 1876 the legislature approved one of the largest barter transactions in recorded history.  John and Charles Farwell, also known as the Capitol Syndicate, received more than three million acres of land in the Panhandle of Texas in exchange for the land where the Capitol now sits.  The land in the Panhandle later became the largest cattle ranch in the world, the XIT Ranch.

 

The Capitol is located four blocks south of the University of Texas at Austin, and is contained within twenty-two acres.  There are seventeen monuments on the grounds, commemorating everything from the Alamo to the Texas Rangers to Vietnam Veterans.  There is also plenty of green space and tree-lined pathways for visitors to explore and enjoy.


The Texas State Capitol is open to visitors year round and should be on the must visit destinations for visitors to the Austin area.  To see more photos of the Capitol, the gallery is here.
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New Drone Photography Rules

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Drone Photography has exploded onto the scene over the past few years, with more and more pilots picking up the controls and taking flight to get angles that were impossible to get before.  Recently, in response to the drone photography boom, the FAA released new rules regarding the piloting of the drones.  The proposed rules are:

 

The drone must remain within eyesight of the pilot.

 

The pilot must be at least seventeen years old.

 

The top altitude of the drone will be capped at five hundred feet (or roughly the size of the Washington Monument).

 

There is a 100 miles per hour speed limit.

 

Pilots must pass a certification class from the Transportation Security Administration.

 

Over the next couple of months the FAA is asking for feedback from the public before it puts the final rules in place.  The FAA is expecting the analysis of the public comments to last for eighteen months, at which time the final rules will be put in place.

 

We here at Clear Sky Images will monitor the new drone photography rules so that we don’t miss a beat in providing you with top of the line drone photography.  Check out one of our most recent drone videos here.

 

Times Square at Craig Ranch Dallas, TX

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Located in the heart of McKinney, TX, the Times Square at Craig Ranch complex stands apart from the competition.  This four story luxury apartment building is within walking distance of the TPC Craig Ranch Golf Course (rated as one of the top ten golf courses in Texas from Golf Digest), and is just a short drive to North Dallas.  There is also an ample amount of shopping nearby as well as on the first floor of the complex.

 

The amenities are so plentiful that there is plenty to occupy your time.  There are the old standbys like the massive pool and fitness center, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.  There is a massive game room with pool tables and a full kitchen, as well as  a mini movie theater, an outdoor fireplace, and even a meeting board room for when it’s time to get down to business.  For those wanting some fresh air, the tree lined path around the building is a beautiful way to spend your walk.

 

The highlight of the property is without a doubt the penthouse suite.  As you can see from our photos, the main living space is simply breathtaking, with the hardwood floors, high ceilings, and the amazing panoramic view of the neighboring golf course and countryside.  We photograph a lot of spaces, but this was easily one of the most dramatic.

 

If you are in the market for some great architectural photography in Dallas, TX or any other part of Texas, Clear Sky Images is here for your needs.  Contact us here to get a quote and to get the process going!

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University of Texas Tower

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Completed in 1937, this thirty story tower is one of the most recognizable features of Austin.  Located in the heart of the University of Texas campus, the University of Texas Tower can be seen from miles around.

 

When it originally opened in 1937, the plan was to use the Tower as a library with a series of dumbwaiters moving the books between floors.  This was short-lived as people figured out having to move books up and down nearly twenty stories wasn’t the most logical thing.  During World War II the tower had an air raid siren installed at the top, however it was never used outside of testing.  Now the Tower is home to administrative offices, as well as an observation deck where tours are routinely given in the Spring and Fall.  During special events, such as the University of Texas Longhorn football victories, the tower is illuminated with bright orange lights.  The Tower is also used to honor graduates with their graduation year spelled out in giant lights.

 

There are many great places to appreciate this seventy-eight year old architectural beauty.  The East side of campus has a great view with it’s giant stone staircases in the foreground.  To fully appreciate it however you should stand due south and take in the lush greenscape hillside as it leads up to the tower.  Once at the top of that hill there is a large bronze statue of George Washington to take in as well.

 

We have many different views of the UT Tower, both from closeup and with the entire campus skyline.  Check out our full University of Texas Gallery Here, and be sure to check back often as we add more shots of this iconic landmark.

 

How to Hire us to Photograph Your Property

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Ready to hire us to photograph your property?  Setting up a shoot with Clear Sky Images couldn’t be easier.

 

  1.  Visit www.ClearSkyImages.com


 

  1.  On the left sidebar click on “Quote


 

  1.  When you reach the satellite view, simply type in the address of your site to be taken to it.  Once there, use the cursor to draw an outline around your site.  This will not only make it easy for us to schedule your shoot, but also ensure that we capture everything on your site.


 

  1.  After your site has been outlined, hit the Submit button at the top.  You will then be prompted to fill in some basic information such as Company Name, Phone Number, etc.


 

  1.  Once submitted we ask that you give us a call at (704)-421-1239 to confirm that your request came through.


 

  1.  From there we will work with you one on one to get you matched up with the ideal photo package, and discuss specific details of the shoot.



We look forward to working with you!


 

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Austin Texas Skylines

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Austin Texas is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, with over a hundred people a day moving to the city.  All it takes to confirm the massive growth is one glance at the downtown skyline.  It is virtually impossible to find an angle of downtown that doesn’t include a giant crane working on another high rise.  Given the rapidly changing landscape, it’s important as a photographer to capture the skyline regularly.

 

We began taking Austin Texas skylines in September of 2014, and have continued to shoot them on a monthly basis from a variety of locations.  From the East side to the West, the waterfront on Auditorium Shores to the Convention Center parking deck, and even from the top of Mount Bonnell, we go everywhere.  Taking these photos really gave me a chance to explore the city and find some of the most amazing vantage points.  My two personal favorites are Auditorium Shores and the West Side, mainly because they are unique.

 

On the shores of Lake Austin there is a statue of one of the most famous Texas musicians, Stevie Ray Vaughan.  From this vantage point it is possible to have the weathered bronze statue towering over the city just like he did during his playing days.  Given the popularity of live music in Austin (home to numerous festivals such as South by Southwest and Austin City Limits, among others) it’s wonderful to be able to have a local musical legend standing as tall as the skyscrapers.

 

In addition to being known for its music, Austin is also known for its weirdness.  The skyline view from the West Side bike path is a perfect illustration of this.  Painted on the side of the railroad bridge is “I’ve got Ninja Style Kung Fu Grip”, which the artist undoubtedly had given the position of the artwork.  When combined with the six cranes building new developments it’s a nice image of both the progress and artistic spirit of the city.


As the city continues to grow, Clear Sky Images will be there to grow with it.  Check back regularly for new Austin Texas Skylines.

Photographing North Facing Buildings

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Have you ever wondered why North facing buildings are hard to get good photos of? This South Texas property located in McAllen, Texas is a sprawling 287,000 square foot shopping center.  The major tenants include Target, Academy, Office Depot, and Marshalls, as well as a wide variety of smaller shops and restaurants.  The majority of major tenants face North, which can pose a problem with getting good photographs later in the winter.

 

Before photographing your site we research it thoroughly to make sure we are there at the right time of day to capture it in full sunlight.  Due to the fact that the fronts of some North facing buildings may never see the sunlight, we have to get a little creative in order to make your property look its best.  The most effective way to accomplish this is to start taking photos right at sunrise.

 

In order to capture sunrise photos, our photographer arrives on site a good thirty minutes before sunrise to set up.  Just as the sun begins to rise it will cast a wonderful even light across everything, giving us a few brief moments to capture the site.  In the case of Las Tiendas Plaza, our photographer did wind up sprinting up and down this vast site to ensure that all of the major tenants were captured.  When we shoot photos like this, we take multiple exposure so that we can blend them together in post production.  This allows us to illuminate the building while keeping the nice blue sky.


While this isn’t a perfect substitute for shooting a building in sunlight, sometimes it’s the only option that is available due to time constraints.  We here at Clear Sky Images go the extra mile to make sure you get the absolute best looking images no matter how difficult the circumstances.  Have a shopping center in need of photography?  Contact us today for a quote

Location Photography: South Congress St Austin

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The unofficial motto of the city is “Keep Austin Weird”, nowhere is this on display better than the South Congress district.  Located within walking distance of downtown, and within view of the state capitol, South Congress is home to a wide variety of restaurants, shopping, and live music.  Oh, and also home to a fair amount of weirdness as well.

 

If there is a food type, chances are you can find it within a few blocks on South Congress.  From Guero’s Taco Bar to Home Slice Pizza to a whole host of food trucks featuring everything from fried chicken to crepes.  And for dessert there is a Hey Cupcake truck hiding in a random parking lot.

 

Once you are through with lunch, it’s time to hit the shops.  As with any shopping district there are plenty of clothes and gift shops, but on South Congress it’s taken a step further.  Lucy in Disguise (with diamonds) has every type of costume in existence.  Uncommon Objects has an unbelievable variety of, well, uncommon objects ranging from 19th century text books to a 1960’s kitchen set to black velvet self portraits.  Even if you have no intention of buying it is an incredible shop to visit.  If Sci-Fi is more your thing, there is a wax museum opening up early in 2015.  On the landmark front, there is the iconic “I love you so much” graffiti on the side of Joe’s coffee shop.  Both the Austin Motel and the Hotel San Jose are among the oldest hotels in the city and have kept the same look and feel for decades.

 

The best part of South Congress however is the weirdness.  On any given day you can walk down the street and see a deer head mounted on the driver side seat of a convertible.  Or you can see a singing cowboy doing some light shopping while on horseback.  Or my personal favorite, seeing the three most common modes of transportation all in a single shot against the backdrop of the skyline and state capitol (the three transportation modes are of course car, bike, and horseback).

 

If you want to completely sum up Austin in six blocks, South Congress is without a doubt the way to go. http://photos.clearskyimages.com/td-stock-south-congress

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Shopping Center Photography

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In a previous blog entry, we discussed how Texas has four of the ten fastest growing cities in the country and how our apartment photography could you help capitalize on that.  Today we are going to talk about how our Shopping Center photography can do the same for your retail property.  The reality is that in these rapidly expanding markets there is abundant retail space available for a company to choose from, so you need to do something extra to help your property stand out from the rest.  That’s where Clear Sky Images comes in.

 

With our high quality photography, we will help your sales brochure stand out from the rest.  We take on each job with the same level of professionalism and will strive to make every property look its absolute best.  From the Nordstrom and Louis Vuitton stores on down to the Family Dollars and Wal-Mart, your center will be displayed beautifully.  When you hire us, we don’t just show up and shoot, we do our homework first.  We scout out every property with sun tracking software so that are sure to be there at the right time of day to capture your buildings in the proper light.

 

Speaking of light, sure daytime shots are necessary and can look fantastic, but nothing quite compares to a perfectly photographed twilight shot.  Texas has some of the most amazing sunsets in the entire world, so it only makes sense to incorporate it into your photos.  While we can’t always guarantee brightly colored skies, your shopping center will look beautiful when shot during the “golden hour”.

 

Once we have photographed your site we will provide you with a proof gallery to pick your preferred angles from, and don’t worry there will be a lot to pick from as we overshoot every job we do.  After your selection we put every photo through our rigorous post production process that turns good photos into great ones.  We have a variety of packages to accommodate the smallest strip mall to the largest outdoor shopping center and everything in between.


Have a shopping center you are ready to show off to the world?  Contact us today to get the process going!