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Photographing Historic Sites - The Murchison Building

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photographing historic sites, murchison, wilmington, historic, stock photos, art deco, detail, nc, commercial photography

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!

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real estate marketing, architectural photography, commercial photography, aerial photography 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: real estate marketing, architectural photography, aerial photography, commercial photography, real estate photography real estate marketing, real estate photography, commercial photography real estate marketing, real estate photography 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 Digester

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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?

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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 our many galleries of amazing aerial, commercial and real estate 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!  

Dazzling Nature Photography from Sedona AZ

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In 2013, our intrepid chief photographer Brett and his no-less intrepid wife, Shelly, took a trip to Arizona. While there, they did some sightseeing and shot some mind-blowingly beautiful photographs of the Grand Canyon, as well as scenic Sedona. In this post, we'll share some of the images from the Sedona excursion. Thanks to Pink Jeep Tours, and the kind of patience that would make the Mother of the Year jealous, Brett and Shelly were able to capture the almost otherworldly quality of these geologic formations against a backdrop of endless sky. Check out this amazing nature photography from Sedona!

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Pink Jeep Tours offers off-road tours for the adventurous type in Sedona, Las Vegas, Scottsdale and the Grand Canyon. The drivers are highly knowledgeable and they take you to places you probably never would have found on your own. If you have a thirst for adventure and breathtaking natural beauty, we highly recommend booking a tour with them when visiting any of these areas! It will definitely be a unique and unforgettable experience!


Here's what Brett had to say about the technical side of the photographic awesomeness they produced in Sedona:

"We often use a combination of HDR (done appropriately) and Photoshop layering to create a more accurate picture than what a single shot on the camera can accomplish. The eye sees so much more than the camera. To pull out the details, I use luminosity masks and a lot of patience. Sometimes you just have to wait on the sun and the right cloud cover. Sometimes you just get lucky. Taking advantage of the 'golden hour' which is always around twilight in the morning or evening helps. We only took a Nikon D800 and 28-300 mm lens for most images. And some good walking shoes."

And as a special treat, here is an incredible video of one of the Pink Jeep tour guides riding his bike across the edge of the canyon in what is possibly the most death-defying act to ever involve a bicycle (and a dog).

We might do a post later on with the Grand Canyon pics, but if you want to view them (as well as the rest of the Sedona photos and other Arizona sights) you can check out the entire Arizona trip gallery here. And of course, all of the photos are available for stock purchase!

Searching for Aerial Photos in North Carolina?

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Look Here for Stock Aerial Photos

Looking for current aerial photos in North Carolina? We have created a searchable map where you can enter the address you are looking for and see if we have any stock imagery.

We know you are working on a project or even searching local areas for activity and development.

We have developed the easiest place to search for stock aerials to serve your needs without even making a phone call.

Go to the link or from our website click the link for Stock Aerial Map.

[caption id="attachment_3667" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Stock Aerial Map Search Stock Aerials[/caption]


  1. Navigate visually or type in the address to find your site.

  2. Use the zoom tools on the left if necessary to see your site clearly.

  3. Click on the icons to see their titles and descriptions.

  4. If you would like to view the photos for a location, simply click on the link in its popup text.

Easy, efficient and effective!

And of course, if we don't have your site on the map, call us and get on the schedule. We will fly your site and get exactly the views and angles you need to communicate location, purpose, and perspective from either a plane or helicopter.

Coming soon, we will also be able to offer drone photography!

Clear Sky Images, here to serve your commercial photography needs.

Let us know what other tools will help you grow your business.

A Tactical Advantage in Commercial Photography

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commercial photography of msc inducstrial

How many times have you heard someone say that talk is cheap? That statement may be truer now more than ever. After all, you can launch an ad campaign on Facebook, create a stir on Twitter, and pretty much market yourself worldwide without spending a dime.

So why does our team at Clear Sky Images still place such a value on talking? Because we know that talking can turn a good shoot into a great one. A talented commercial photographer can go into any situation and assess lighting, gauge the mood and balance the shot. A great commercial photographer knows precisely what questions to ask to ensure the shoot takes place in the best light, on the right day, hitting every important detail.

Consider the gallery of images of the corporate office building for MSC Industrial. We covered this five-story building in Davidson, North Carolina for a local general contractor in just hours. We knew the spaces to target and the type of images needed, tackling the 18,000 SF with confidence.

Before the shoot, CSI took a beat to talk the particulars of the job. This includes the cut-and-dry details like point of contact, access and geographic orientation. Where our team shines though is in its ability to get to the heart of the job – understanding the ultimate purpose of the images and true character of the building. We know the right questions to ask to help quickly assess just want you need from the project.

Now back to the gallery for MSC. When you look beyond the well-balanced light and attractive angles, you will see a mixture of vertical and horizontal photos that allow for versatility in marketing layouts. Exterior images show both the expanse of the building and tighter shots of the entryways. This again considers the types of marketing the pictures will provide for our client. A late-afternoon shoot over the weekend ensures few cars and people, placing an emphasis on the building. The timing also gives us soft, bright light that gives way to a dramatic dusk setting.

These details allowed our team to create the best collection of photos for our client. The end result? A set of images that captured the character of the building so well, that the project’s GC, Owner, Developer and Architect all purchased them.

So the next the next time you hear someone say how talk is cheap, maybe consider that you are just not talking to the right people. Give Clear Sky Images a call to discuss how our commercial photography services can best help you.

See the complete gallery here

General Contractor – Choate Construction Company
Owner – MSC Industrial
Real Estate Developer – Childress Klein Properties
Architect – Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio, LLC

Skyline Images: The Golden Hour

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Look, up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s Clear Sky Images!

And what inspired our fearless photographer to take to the skies? His mission was clear, to obtain breath-taking images of the Charlotte skyline in beautiful detail. For this photo shoot, Brett was looking for more than altitude and position. He wanted that one time of day when the sun shines on the city like no other. When the cityscape stands strong against the soft hues of the sky, and reflections add a rich depth instead of a glaring distraction.

But knowing when and where to launch the helicopter was only half of the game plan.  A clear flight path and unencumbered views ensured no obstacles stood in the way of the camera. A trusted pilot and a constant stream of communication with air traffic control cleared the way for our team. The helicopter provided the right altitude and a study platform for the oblique shots. And did we mention there are no doors on this thing?  Brett wouldn’t have it any other way. The wide open space allows unrestricted vantages.

We offer all of these new skyline shots and aerial photos of Uptown within our gallery of images. Select one to give a personal and sophisticated gift to your Charlotte clients. Grab another to create an eye-catching holiday card that any recipient would proudly display. Beat the holiday rush and purchase one of Clear Sky Images' spectacular skyline photographs of uptown Charlotte. Click the link below to view the gallery and purchase online today!

Helicopter Skylines 2013

North Carolina Commercial Photographer: A Clear Vision

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Our valiant commercial photographer, Brett, recently spent some time in Uptown Charlotte with a client who knows a thing or two about how a successful project begins with a clear vision. The investment firm Vision Ventures hired Clear Sky Images to photograph its mixed-use development – EpiCentre. The group wanted fresh images for its website and marketing materials. Their goal was to show the dynamic nature of the center, with live events, outdoor dining, a bustling open-air plaza and robust nightlife.

Ted Hill, Vice President of Vision Ventures, hired the team for the job. “We had multiple sessions with Clear Sky Images. We had several shoots of events, such as Live After Five, and we needed to capture the impact of our outdoor digital media. Clear Sky Images also provided updated aerials shots of the center, showing its superior location. Our expectations were exceeded each time.”

They say it all begins with a vision. Before a novel can be written, a writer sees a scene play out in his head, with characters that take on lives of their own. An explorer seeks out the undiscovered and strives to shine light on a part of the world seldom seen. And the developer’s vision goes beyond the group of buildings in disrepair, its vacant spaces and bankrupt past, to instead see the potential of what could be.

A commercial photographer is no different. Every photo shoot starts with a vision, complete with characters and storylines. His tools include light and time, and his job is to move beyond walls and spaces to tell the untold story of all that is in front of him. To see the story of the EpiCentre, please click here to go to the gallery of images. To discover more about the development and see its upcoming events, click on the link below.

Elevation in Photography: You Tell Us to Shoot, We Ask How High?

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A lot of times, you may see an absolutely beautiful shot and never even realize some of the complexities behind its capture. Today, let's discuss elevation in photography.

Brett used a 30 ft pole cam and shot from a elevated position in order to showcase the exquisite view of the lake hiding just behind the house. Utilizing the exquisite sensor performance of the Nikon D800 coupled with a very fast Nikon lens and photographing this home at the exact right time of day under ideal conditions, Brett was able to create this stunning image:


This is a gorgeous image, right? Sometimes you have to elevate your photography!

Click here to see the full gallery for this home