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Photographing North Carolina Luxury Real Estate
. . . Was it working or was it a Mini-Vacation?

As a website developer, sometimes the lines between work and play can be a bit blurry. After all, I am paid by business to play with pictures and create interactive graphics.  In other words . . for a living I get paid to work with my electronic coloring book.

Such was the case regarding a recent luxury real-estate project in North Carolina called Bennett Landing. This was the working mini-vacation that I will never forget.

The mission of the Bennett Landing website, http://www.bennettlanding.com/ is to highlight attention to a one-of-a-kind real-estate development in one of the fastest growing and affluent areas in North Carolina. It is also to drive traffic to a sister project focused on North Carolina waterfront real-estate, http://www.ncwaterfront.com/

This development Bennett Landing, has everything going for it. It is 10 minutes away from downtown Oriental North Carolina. It is right on the edge of the Neuse River and it is right across from an area golf club and country club with a pool. If that is not good enough it was bordering a protected wildlife preserve.

The problem was that the last time a serious set of pictures was taken of the development was pre-construction and the construction phases of the project. It is one thing to know that the builder spared no expense with construction and landscaping but it is difficult to communicate this fact when the last photo taken has an excavator parked where the day kitchen is supposed to sit and there is no lawn in the pictures.

One of my partners on this project, John, suggested that we should get to North Carolina right away so we can get new pictures. Within three days of him coming up with this idea, the developers had us in the back seat of a car heading for North Carolina and the adventure began.

Talk about a weekend that messes with your emotion. On one hand we were in absolute paradise. We were staying in waterfront homes in North Carolina right on the Neuse River. We woke up to hundreds of dolphins and we were greeted by an adorable red fox. The temperature was perfect and the river breeze was delightful. To make things better, we stayed in the luxury villas of Bennett Landing.

On the other hand we had the shooting schedule from hell. We originally planned on being there for less than 30 hours. We needed to film and video all of the interiors and exteriors of the development and while we were at it take other pictures a quarter of a mile away at another real-estate development. To make matters worse we happened to be there on one of the only 20 days a year that it rains. We had to shoot the exteriors when the rain stopped or slowed down. We also had to contend with clouds in every picture.  

I woke up at 5am to be able to film the sun rise. It turned out I captured the “fade in” on film. I call it the fade in because the sun was hiding behind the clouds. I could have easily slept in and used a cheap video filter effect to crate the illusion of the day beginning.  On the plus side, we did sleep in a waterfront home.

All the while Fred, the developer of the project was saying, “Isn’t this great?” “Isn’t this relaxing?” “Isn’t this paradise?” I am thinking, “It would be if we can finish filming Villa 5 and Villa 6 and when I get a chance, I need to carry 180 pounds of boat, motor, gas and floorboards down a 200 foot day dock and inflate my inflatable boat so we can get shots of the development from the river.  That’s if it stops raining for more than an hour. “But yes, I could see how it would be relaxing.”

On a positive note, the ultimate “I can’t believe I am getting paid for this project” moment came when I was at the end of the dock inflating my boat and I spotted two pods of dolphins getting closer and closer. I had my digital video camera on me so I filmed them for a good half hour. There was a smile on my face from ear to ear. I was thinking two things. One . . . I can’t believe I am 25 feet from a pod of dolphins and two . . . I can’t believe I am getting the whole thing on film.

The point of this article is that it is one thing to enjoy what you do for a living but sometimes you can not measure the psychic income that comes from the satisfaction you get when an aggressive schedule meets hard work in paradise. It was a weekend that I will never forget.