Category Archives: General

Drone Updates

I’ve continued practicing flying and using the drone to get real estate property images and I am really hoping for one specific update from the manufacturer:  wider exposure values when taking HDR images.  Currently they’ll let you choose 3 images (normal exposure and up to +/-0.7 over and under exposure) but what is really needed are up to 5 images with +/- one stop exposure between each to capture the full dynamic range of the scene.  But I think I can make do, with a lot of editing in Photoshop, with what they currently provide.  

Another item of note:  I’m still waiting, nearly 3 months now, for approval to fly inside along the northern boundary of the Tyndall AFB Class D airspace over the land.  I don’t know why it’s taking them so long to approve this or why they even haven’t let me know if there’s an issue or not.  Or when they might get to it.  These kind of delays are totally unrealistic and untenable for those of us who are wanting to provide a service with our drones.  I’m almost at my wit’s end trying to figure out what to do next.  Hopefully something will happen soon though I’m sure it will be “fill it out again with more information” and another 3-month waiting period.  Ugh…

Hurricane Michael – WOW!

Hurricane Micheal was one for the record books!  My house and my neighborhood took a direct hit; the eye passed right over us.  One neighbor who stayed said the eye took over 30 minutes to pass by!  We were buffeted by 155+mph winds first from the east and then from the west after the eye passed.  

Surprisingly, about half of the houses here, including mine, had only minor damage from the storm.  The rest were damaged pretty severely in one way or another.  At least 3 were declared a complete loss.  My house was livable immediately, though we had no power and water and our septic system would quickly fill up without power for the lift station to pump it out.  We actually stayed in the house Thursday and Friday nights after the storm as we prepared for our previously planned trip to Iowa for a wedding the following week.  

We returned on October 22nd and found out from one of our neighbors that we had water; it was turned on earlier that day.  The next day someone with a generator came around to all the houses and offered to energize the septic pumps to help empty the tanks which was quite a relief.  Still, even though we had water and could theoretically take showers (cold ones), we couldn’t actually do that or we’d end up filling the septic tanks again after only a couple of days.  By using the septic system only for biological necessity, we were able to stretch that time into a week to 10 days.  

We ended up getting power back on October 28th and we quickly turned everything on to 1) empty the septic tanks and 2) start cooling the refrigerator.  Unfortunately, power went out again about 30 hours later on Monday.  It took a couple of days but our power folks came out and finally determined that another one of our underground cable sections needed replacing.  (I thought underground cabling was supposed to be less susceptible to damage???) By 630pm Friday November 2nd, we had power again.  And as luck would have it, we still have it today!  

We were lucky.  There are many, many people in the area and in the county as a whole who have no place to live.  And in one of the unintended consequences that has been noticed (maybe this has been the case in other disasters but it hasn’t been mentioned in any of the news reports I’ve seen before), many of the homeless people have literally left the area and now nearly every business is looking to hire workers to replace them and keep their stores open!  Even our nearby Wal Mart has said they might have to close because they don’t have enough workers to keep the store open.  Their current hours are 10am – 5pm.  

I am finally getting my computers all hooked back up and running and am starting to sync all of the photos I took and saved on my laptop while I was away to my main desktop system.  Once that is done I can start sharing photos here again and keep everyone updated.  

Drone Update Status

I wanted to let everyone know that it’s taken far longer than anyone had suspected but my new drone has finally shipped.  It should be here on Monday the 13th.  It’ll take me a week or so to learn how to fly it and best utilize it for real estate photos.  And it will take even more time for me to learn exactly what the FAA is looking for when making waiver requests.  Right now I see a need for two waivers:  one for the Tyndall AFB airspace which affects the southern part of Callaway, Parker, and Springfield areas.  And another waiver for operation over populated areas which will affect all of the beach and condo areas on Panama City Beach.  

I’m looking forward to tackling these issues in the coming days so I can be ready to provide the best aerial service to all of you.  Thanks for your patience.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Drone Service Coming Soon!

Because of all the requests and inquiries I’ve been receiving lately about drone aerial photos, I have decided to take the investment plunge and get a drone.  I have studied and passed the drone certification course from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and have found the drone I want to procure.  Unfortunately it is backordered for a couple of weeks so it will be a short while longer before I can get it in my hands and practice with it so I’ll be ready to use it.  I’m looking at setting pricing right now.  What would you be willing to pay for 3-4 drone images to help market your house? 

I Have Returned!

I have returned from my New Mexico trip to visit an old high school buddy.  I had a great time and might even throw a few images here for you to view a little later.  In the mean time, I’m ready for more houses and condos to photograph for you!  Let me know what you have and I’ll get them on the schedule ASAP.  

Not All Properties We Photograph Are “Showcase” Homes

Not every house we photograph is one of those you see on the front page of various real estate, vacation, travel, or architectural magazines.  Regardless, we still need to do our best to photograph those houses and present them in the best way possible for the prospective buyers.  They need to see the true condition of the property but they don’t necessarily need to see all of its “warts”.  No matter what we do in the photographing or editing process, we absolutely cannot remove anything unpleasant.  As most of you are aware, that is construed as mis-representing the property which is a big no-no.  We often have to strike a balance between making the property look “too good” versus showing reality in all of its “splendor”.   

310 Alexander Drive is one of those houses that are not magazine ready.  

Extended Absence

This short note is a heads up about a trip I’m planning.  I’ll be loading up my motorcycle and pull behind trailer soon for a trip to visit some friends in New Mexico.  I plan on doing a lot of photography on the way out there and back.  No interstates for me; I want to drive the back roads and visit a lot of the out of the way places on this trip.  I even hope to get some extended driving time on the infamous Route 66 when I can!  Right now I’m considering the last two weeks in April and possibly extending into the first week in May.  Keep that in mind when you’re planning your photographic needs.  Thanks for your understanding!

Hurricane Irma Update

As of this morning, the latest forecast track is bringing Irma up the west coast of Florida beginning as a Cat 5 storm.  It’s track has been drifting farther westward for a few days now.  If it gets out over the Gulf as it tracks northward along the coast, it will remain a very strong storm and might begin to have a serious impact on our area here in the panhandle.  As of now we’re expecting some tropical storm force winds and showers from the outer rain bands.  I suspect we’ll be dealing with this storm through Tuesday at least so you might want to consider this as you make your photography plans.  Please everyone; stay safe out there and please be considerate of all the evacuees from south Florida staying in our area for the next few days.  

Major Hurricane Irma

In case you haven’t noticed, but I’m sure you have, there is a major hurricane bearing down on Florida right now.  Hurricane Irma is a strong Cat 5 hurricane headed toward the Florida Straits.  Current forecast shows it making a right turn and heading up toward Ft Myers on the west coast of the state which means we’ll probably feel some of it’s outer rain bands as it makes its way northward.  But if it keeps angling west, we could get much worse weather including, possibly, a direct hit.  

Plan ahead both for your photography needs and for your personal safety.  If any of your properties need outside views, especially the condos, I probably won’t be able to get to many of your units through the middle of next week, possibly through the end of next week as we wait for the weather to clear out.  Other properties will depend on the safety of getting around town.  

If you haven’t already, you might think of using your own camera or cell phone and taking photos or videos of each room in your house to document your possessions for insurance purposes.  It’s easy and takes only a few moments.  You never know when that information will be needed.  

Be safe out there and hopefully I’ll be able to chat with all of you on the flip side!

New Condo Exterior Photo

I was just out at the Regency Towers condo photographing a unit out there for an agent and noticed that they have finally replaced the old fountain display in front of the building with something newer and a little more modern.  So I had to get a new photo that shows the front of the building.  This photo will be located in the amenity photos gallery for purchase by anyone wanting photos of the complex to use in their marketing.  The exterior photos are always included with unit photos taken for rental or selling purposes.