Beautiful Waterfront Home for Sale on Nelson Lake (Hayward, WI)

The other day I had fun shooting this luxury lake home on Nelson Lake near Hayward, Wisconsin.  Above: a pretty good great room.  Next: a sunny sun porch.  In that photo, the sign above the window pretty much tells the story.  “By the Lake.”  Yes.  By the Lake.  For more, just scroll on down.


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Vintage Cottage on Upper Saint Croix Lake (Solon Springs, Wisconsin)

The other day I had fun shooting this unique 1926 lake cottage in Solon Springs, Wisconsin.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love photographing the usual luxury lake homes, log homes, and timber frame homes with their exposed beams, walls of glass facing the lake, and more granite countertops than you can shake a stick at.  We have plenty of those here in northwest Wisconsin, and I love them.  But variety is good, and this place has some features that are truly unique.

You might call it a cottage, because back in 1926 it was built as a summer place and not as a primary residence.  But it’s not your ordinary cabin up at the lake.  It was built by Joseph Lucius, a canoe builder, contractor, and noteworthy local citizen who in 1905 was profiled in the Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Lake Region.  A few excerpts: “…Since then he has lived on the Brule River, where he kept a summer resort for several years… Most of the buildings and boats on that romantic and historic stream have been built by Mr. Lucius… He is a contractor and employs a number of men… Mr. Lucius’ own residence, commenced in 1902, is an ideal rustic home, furnished both inside and outside with natural cedar.  This, as well as the club houses he has built, is fitted with water works and other modern conveniences… Mr. Lucius is a man held in great respect by all who know him, and the trust reposed in him has always been amply justified.”

For details, or to schedule a showing of this unique property, contact listing agent Jean Hedren.  She’s at (218) 590-6634 or   Meanwhile, for more photos, just scroll on down.

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Drone Photos and Summer Refresh for Luxury Lake Home on Upper Eau Claire Lake (Barnes, Wisconsin)

Last week this northwest Wisconsin luxury lake home on Upper Eau Claire Lake was ready for its summer refresh.   I started with drone photos, and then captured fresh exteriors and waterfront shots with my “regular” camera.  When I got back to the office and started downloading these photos…  I’ll have to admit, I kind of liked what I saw.

It was a calm, sunny morning with barely a ripple out there–perfect conditions for verifying that the Eau Claire chain of lakes lives up to its name.  (Eau Claire, as you’ve probably guessed, is French for “Water Clear.”  And it is.)  To see a few photos showing exactly how clear that water is in Upper Eau Claire Lake, just scroll on down.

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Beautiful Drone Photos of NW WI Lake Home in Voyager Village

The other day I had fun shooting this lake home in Voyager Village.  It’s in a great location, right at the head of Loon Lake.  (Voyager Village is in northwest Wisconsin, not far from Webb Lake and about halfway between Minong and Danbury.)  We had some fun clouds that day, which made for lovely exteriors.  This home also presented the opportunity for some nice interior shots with great views of the lake.  For more, just scroll on down.

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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.

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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


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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.

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