High Dynamic Range Photography

According to Wikipedia, “In image processing, computer graphics, and photography, high dynamic range imaging (HDRI or just HDR) is a set of techniques that allow a greater dynamic range of luminances between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than standard digital imaging techniques or photographic methods. This wider dynamic range allows HDR images to more accurately represent the wide range of intensity levels found in real scenes, ranging from direct sunlight to faint starlight.”

Those of you who follow my blog know I’ve wanted to try High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography for some time. 

The opportunity presented itself today when I was photographing a new listing.  The home sits on a wooded creek lot and the views from the windows of the master bedroom are a great selling point. 

This photo is properly composed to capture the interior of the bedroom.  Note how the windows are blown out with the bright light coming into the room.

I then shot a series of photographs of the same room varying the aperture. Here are those photos:

I then used Photomatix to create the HDR photograph and did the tone mapping.  The HDR photo was then dropped into Photoshop for final adjustments.

While I’m not 100 percent satisfied with the result, It is a move in the right direction.


Homes For Sale – Garland, TX – 3310 Western

Homes For Sale - Garland, TX - 3310 Western

3 Bedrooms | 2 Baths | 1373 SF

Homes For Sale – Garland, TX – Great investment opportunity!  Corner home on large lot with mature trees, covered back porch, and wood fence.  One living area with faux paint, crown molding and cozy electric fireplace.  Second living has a vintage wood burning stove.  Large dining area overlooks grassy back yard.  Gas stove and newer dishwasher in the kitchen with red brick accents.

Click here for current statusm pricing, and photos.

Source: NTREIS | Photo Credit – Tom Branch

Important Deadline Information for Texas Seller-Financers

One of the unexpected effects of the SAFE Act was a requirement for people providing seller financing to be licensed Mortgage Loan Originators. 

Texas Savings and Mortgage Lending Commissioner Foster has extended the deadline for seller – financers to become licensed as Mortgage Company Residential Mortgage Loan Originators and be in compliance with the SAFE Act until August 31, 2010.

Click here for more information.


Looks like Copy Machines are Something Else for Us to Worry About


Via Jim & Maria Hart ~ Charleston, SC Real Estate (AgentOwned Realty):

Do you remember the last thing you had copied, either for yourself or someone else? 

You probably do.  It could have been someone’s driver’s license for your client file, a HUD statement, an earnest money check, tax returns for a mortgage broker, or a contract.  How about your insurance card at the doctor’s office or your social security card for a job you just accepted?

These are just a small sample of what we copy on a daily basis.  But did you know that the copy machine keeps a digital image of every single thing that it copies??  They’re all stored on its hard drive, ready and waiting to be re-viewed by whomever looks for them.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that it S-C-A-R-Y

My uncle sent me this YouTube video the other day which explains everything clearer that I can.  It’s a piece that CBS News did on April 25, 2010.  It is a couple minutes long, but you’ll be glad you checked it out.  Or maybe not.



We proudly serve and sell real estate in and around all of Charleston, SC.  If you are thinking about purchasing or selling your home in Charleston, Johns Island, James Island, Folly Beach, Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, Isle of Palms, Sullivans Island, North Charleston, Hanahan, Summerville, Goose Creek or other surrounding areas, and more importantly, want to work with a local area expert, contact us at your earliest convenience.


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Jim and Maria Hart
Realtors®/ AgentOwned Realty
(843) 364-9845


Copyright © 2010 by Jim and Maria Hart (AgentOwned Realty).



Eight Personal Qualities for Success – Part 4

This is Part Four of a series covering the Eight Personal Qualities for Success.

In Part Three I covered, Self Responsibility and Be Committed. In Part Four, I’ll discuss, The Extra Mile, Control Your Time, and Persistence and Determination

The Extra Mile

The sixth personal quality necessary to achieve outstanding success in business is that you must be willing to go the extra mile. It’s the “Under Promise, Over Deliver” concept, and can be summed up in the following statement:

“If you are always willing to do more than what you get paid for, the day will come when you will be paid for more than what you actually do.”

Robert Cialdini, in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, discusses what he calls the Law of Reciprocity. Basically it says that when you do something for someone else, there’s an unstated obligation for them to want to do something for you in return.

So when you go the extra mile for your customers or clients, you’ve just set the stage for that law to take effect. But it’s only on that “extra mile” that it works. When you give what might be considered “normal” service, or “adequate” service or even “good” service, you haven’t earned the right to expect that law to work for you.

In fact, even performing “knock-out” service often isn’t enough to gain you an advantage. We’ve all come to expect that from any number of businesses.
You’ve really got to do something special in order to gain an advantage in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Then, and only then, can you expect to create that nearly compelling desire in your customer to want to reciprocate. This simple truth says it all:

“There’s no traffic jam on the extra mile.”

Control Your Time

The seventh quality is that you must master and take control of your time. Time is an expendable commodity. Each one of us has the same 24 hours in each day. When those hours are gone, they cannot be replaced. They are gone forever, never to be recaptured.
You must treat your time as precious, and guard it wisely and selfishly. Don’t let anyone disrupt you or take you away from the focus you have on your goals.

People who don’t have goals are used by people who do. If you let others draw you away from your goals, you are simply saying that their goals are more important than your own.
If you are serious about business success – really serious, then this is one of the most important and critical areas to defend.

Persistence and Determination

Number eight, is to develop persistence and determination. From time to time you will encounter set backs or reach plateaus where it seems like nothing is going right.

Your competitors lower their prices, run massive ad campaigns and unheard of promotions, and the next thing you know your customers and clients begin doing business with them.

Business is walking out the back door faster than it’s coming in the front door. Your volume is beginning to drop, and you become concerned. You seem to be spending more time in a defensive posture than you do in servicing your existing customers, and you’re losing. Now is not the time to give up. Now is the time to dig in and begin to play offensively.

Now is the time to be determined not to lose your good customers – the ones you worked so hard to get. Your strategy should be to keep in touch with them and continue providing exceptional service.
Nearly every business is cyclical. Eventually things will change. While you can’t be competitive on price all the time, you can be competitive on the service you give, and the empathy you have for your customers and their problems.

We’ll talk more about how to do that in a later blog, but for now, just resolve in advance that no matter what, you’ll never give up.

Homes For Sale – Plano, TX – 1600 Thistledown

Homes For Sale - Plano, TX - 1600 Thistledown

3 Bedrooms | 2.1 Baths | 2-Car Garage | 3410 SF

Homes For Sale – Plano, TX. Large one story on beautifully landscaped corner lot. Huge great room with vaulted ceiling, wall of windows and skylights. Spacious master has two sided fireplace and patio access. Master bath has double steam shower and leads to spa room overlooking the sparkling diving pool and waterfall. Kitchen has butcher block island and built in bench seating. Recent hardwoods, 16 SEER HVAC, pool pump, and paint. Great floor plan and yard for entertaining. 

Click here for current status, pricing, details and photos.

Source: NTREIS | Photo Credit – Tom Branch

What a Nice Night for Baseball in North Texas

Tom Branch, Gina Branch, Denise Helbing, Stockton HelbingWhat a nice evening for baseball in North Texas! It was a hot and humid day but as the evening progressed it cooled off a bit and a light breeze helped make it feel a bit cooler.

Gina and I along with Denise and Stockton Helbing attended the Frisco RoughRiders versus the Midland RockHounds game at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas.

Stockton and Denise are past clients and we had been trying to get together for months. It was great to get a chance to catch up on what had been going on with the two of them and their new home.

While we ate dinner before the game we discussed how fortunate we are to live in the greater Dallas area. Not only do we have great food and shopping but we have lots of local entertainment venues. 

According to Wikipedia, The Frisco RoughRiders are currently the Class AA affiliate of the Texas Rangers major league baseball club. The team plays in the Texas League, assigned to the South Division. Prior to 2003, the franchise was based in Shreveport, Louisiana, and were known as the Shreveport Captains (and, for the 2002 season, the Shreveport SwampDragons). In 2003, they were purchased by Mandalay Entertainment in connection with Tom Hicks, owner of the Texas Rangers and the company that owns it, Southwest Sports Group. Mandalay Baseball moved them to the Dallas suburb of Frisco and changed their name to the RoughRiders.

They currently play at the Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco. Opened on April 3, 2003, the stadium seats 10,600 fans. The stadium is both unique and innovative; both bullpens are surrounded by seats and there is a pool area available for rental just beyond the right center field wall.

Here’s a quick video we put together.

The Rockhounds scored first in the top of the fourth inning but the RoughRiders answered with 4 runs of their own.  The final score was 7 to 2 with the RoughRiders winning another home game.