Summer Refresh on Nelson Lake (Hayward, Wisconsin)

This morning I had fun shooting fresh exteriors for this home on Nelson Lake.  The seasons have changed, and it was time for a refresh.  I also wanted to add a few aerials that would emphasize this home’s privacy, seclusion, and end-of-the-road location on a quiet bay.  Because every picture tells a story.  For more, just scroll on down.

Posted in Photography, Real Estate, Uncategorized

I passed my FAA Part 107 test, and I’m now making legal drone photos.

In the world of real estate, great photos matter.  The difference isn’t just artsy or technical, and it’s a difference that really matters.  Here’s why:

Nearly all buyers begin their search online.  In today’s market, they have lots of options. Their biggest challenge: deciding on a short list of homes they feel are worth seeing in person.  Great photos increase the odds that your home will make the cut.  In the old days, back when buyers drove around looking for real estate signs, everyone talked about “curb appeal.” Online, great photos are the modern equivalent.  Other than price, it’s the #1 thing we can do to help your home get noticed.

And starting now…  I’m also creating aerial photos and video.  Last winter I passed my Part 107 test, and I’m now an FAA-certified Remote Pilot who can legally fly small Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) for commercial purposes.

So what’s Part 107 all about?  It’s a regulatory framework that covers small UASs being flown commercially in the National Airspace System (NAS).  As of August 29, 2016, a Realtor or photographer must possess a Remote Pilot Certificate before they can legally use a drone to capture aerial photos or video that will be used to market your home.  It doesn’t matter if no money changes hands; the FAA clearly defines real estate photography as a “commercial purpose,” and even uses it as a key example of the difference between commercial and recreational flight.

(If a Realtor or photographer is about to take aerial photos or videos of your home, make sure they’re doing so legally and safely.  When flying a small UAS for commercial purposes (and that includes anything related to real estate), pilots here in the U.S. are required by law to have their Remote Pilot Certificate with them at all times.  Liability for unauthorized operations can fall on both the pilot and the person who hires the pilot.  The pilot would face a fine of $1,100 per violation, and the “person who causes the operation” could be liable for a fine of $11,000.)

If you’d like to take the Part 107 test yourself, then get ready to study.  You’ll need to know how to read a sectional chart and understand the nuances and technicalities of the NAS, how to interpret METARs and TAFs, airport operations, aeronautical decision-making, all the rules and regulations covered under Part 107, and more.

I’ll have to admit…  As I began my studies, some of these arcane details felt a little irrelevant.  But then I started to realize that nearly everything I was learning would make me a safer, more responsible flier.  Without that knowledge, I’d be creating unnecessary risks that could have serious consequences.

If that’s true for me flying photo and video missions over lake homes that are way out here in the woods, well, then it’s definitely true for the more typical Remote Pilot who’s flying over cities and suburbs.  There, topics like airspace floors and ceilings, TFRs, NOTAMs, and CTAFs for listening in on untowered approaches are no longer of just academic interest.

I’m also taking this very seriously in another way.  This isn’t just flying.  It’s photography.  Real photography.

Although aerial photos and video still have novelty value, it’s no longer enough to send up a drone and press a button.  This isn’t a job for your neighbor’s teenager who loves drones, phones, and video games.  It’s a job for a skilled real estate photographer who occasionally uses a camera that happens to be mounted on a flying tripod.  Just as with terrestrial photography, there’s more to this than just buying a camera and clicking a button.

So I’m excited.  I’ve passed my Part 107 test, and I’m now flying my flying tripod.

Check out my gallery pages for examples of the stunning images that can make your home stand out from the crowd.  And for more still, check out my wife’s blog and website over at


Posted in Photography, Real Estate, Uncategorized

Lake Home With Level Sand Frontage (Nancy Lake, near Minong, WI)

The other day I had fun shooting this home on Nancy Lake near Minong, Wisconsin.  It’s a nice lake place in a great location, and it was a beautiful, sunny afternoon in late May.  Great clouds, blue skies, blue water, oak leaves still unfurling, and a flag fluttering lazily in the breeze.  What could be finer?  For more sand, sky, water, fun interiors, and old fisherman crossings, just scroll on down.

Posted in Photography, Real Estate, Uncategorized

Log Home With Ten Acres of Trilliums (Trego, Wisconsin)

A few days ago I returned to this log home in Trego, Wisconsin to get some fresh springtime exteriors.  While I was there, I couldn’t help but notice the woods were filled with wildflowers.  It turns out that for the right price, you can buy ten acres of trilliums and the sellers will throw in this beautiful log home for free.

For more on the house itself, visit  Or, for a video, check out the Jean Hedren, Your NW WI Realtor YouTube channel.  Meanwhile, for a few shots of trilliums and other flora found on the property, just scroll on down.

Posted in Photography, Real Estate, Uncategorized

Kimball Lake Resort (Minong, Wisconsin)

I’m just finishing up a major photo project for Jean Hedren, my Realtor wife.  It’s the Kimball Lake Resort near Minong, Wisconsin.  (For more on this and other recent listings, you can visit Jean’s blog and website over at

The Kimball Chain of Lakes is in northwest Wisconsin; it’s several miles west-northwest of Minong.  If you’re familiar with the area, it’s west of Gilmore Lake, southwest of the Minong Flowage, and northeast of Nancy Lake.  It includes three lakes–Upper Kimball Lake (44 acres), Middle Kimball Lake (98 acres), and Lower Kimball Lake (129 acres).

Kimball Lake Resort is on Lower Kimball Lake.  In addition to the owners’ home and office pictured above, the resort includes five cabins on 139 acres and around 560 feet of shoreline.  Four are vintage cabins that have been recently updated, and the fifth was just built in 2001.  So photographing the home, the cabins, the woods, and the waterfront was a big project, almost like five or six “normal” photo shoots.

I’m still working on a few of the remaining photos, but maybe it’s time for a little blogging break.   For a sneak peek at the Kimball Lake Resort’s cabins and waterfront, just scroll on down.

Posted in Photography, Real Estate, Uncategorized

Chalet for Sale on Trego Lake (Trego, Wisconsin)

The other day I had fun photographing this chalet on Trego Lake near Trego, Wisconsin.  Trego Lake is a flowage that’s formed upstream of a dam on the Namekagon River, and it tends to be a fairly quiet lake.  This lake home has views of the water from almost every room.  For more, just scroll on down.

Posted in Photography, Real Estate, Uncategorized

Lake Home for Sale on Lower Eau Claire Lake (Gordon, Wisconsin)

The other day I had fun photographing this charming lake home on Lower Eau Claire Lake in Gordon, Wisconsin.  This northwest Wisconsin cabin has a great view and a great waterfront; it’s close to the water, and out front there’s a sand bottom that’s great for swimming.

Clear water?  Yup.  That’s how the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes got its name.  Although these are big lakes, this home is located on a quiet corner of Lower Eau Claire Lake; the entire time I was shooting exteriors on the lake side, I was being watched by a pair of loons that was bobbing up and down in the waves just off shore.

The cabin itself isn’t bad, either.  In recent years it’s been totally updated.  In particular, its dining room overlooking the lake was quite spectacular.  To see for yourself, just scroll on down.


Posted in Photography, Real Estate, Uncategorized