Events People

Meet our 2018 Calendar Winners!

November 22, 2017

We are very excited to introduce the 2018 Dig the Dunes calendar photographers! Above is a preview of the photos chosen for the calendar, which you can purchase in our online shop right now for just $22. There is now a Local Pick-Up option for online ordering at check-out! We will also have our annual Calendar Release party on December 5 at Running Vines in Chesterton. This is your  chance to see all the photos and meet the photographers and Dig the Dunes team in person. This will be an ALL AGES event.

And now….your winners!

January – Jackson Pearson

Jackson Pearson is a photographer from Chesterton, IN. His favorite subjects are nature, wildlife and his pug, Phinn. His photos have been featured in Birds & Blooms Magazine, Bicycle Times Magaine and in the Richard & Jane Manoogian Art Museum on Mackinac Island.


February – Steve Bensing

Steve has been taking pictures all of his life, but about ten years ago, he got into digital photography. He started becoming involved in photo clubs to learn more from other photographers and and also help others. Currently, he is president of the Duneland Photography Club and belongs to 2 photo clubs and 3 other art organizations in the area. Steve enjoys the outdoors and especially taking pictures of the Dunes in the “off season.” You can find him on Facebook, here.


March – Gordon Wilder

Gordon’s picture was taken at the Indiana Dunes State Park just East of the pavilion. It is called
the Devils Slide. He retired from teaching in 1991 and has since traveled widely overseas and in the U.S, He has hiked in Indiana and other national parks when he was able to hike.

April –  Jerry Grafton

Jerry has had a rich and varied work experience. He is a former police officer and Army veteran. Most of his life was spent in the field of social work. He loves serving people and is part of the pastoral staff at Calvary Church, Valparaiso. Photography became a hobby of his when he purchased his first camera while in the military. He enjoys photographing God’s beautiful creation, especially the Indiana Dunes Lakeshore.

May – Jim Pappas

Jim is a new father, global traveler (57 countries and counting), managing real estate broker, commercial real estate developer, engineer, and general contractor with a passion for designing luxury beachfront homes that capture the essence of Lake Michigan and its pristine shoreline and dunes. Living in Miller Beach with the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (soon to be our 60th National Park!) as his backyard, there is never a shortage of beauty to capture, regardless of the season. To recharge batteries and regain perspective, Jim and his family travel around the world exploring other cultures by truly living like locals—staying in vacation rental homes, shopping at local markets, and experiencing life as a non-tourist. No matter where he is, Jim is inspired by landscapes and interiors that he loves to capture from behind the lens. Follow his journeys, near and far, on Instagram and Facebook @MillerBeachVacationRentals.

June – Karen Cercone

Karen is from Chesterton, Indiana. She loves the water, hiking the dunes (especially Trail 9), kayaking on lake Michigan & exploring new trails. She often goes to Beverly Shores with her family to get an ice cream cone and go down to the rocky beach and enjoy a breathtaking sunset. Karen loves taking pictures of sunsets, boats, kayaks, jeeps and nature. Follow her on Instagram @karencercone.

July – Terri Hebert

Terri is an educator by profession and a photographer for fun and relaxation. She relocated from central Arkansas to teach science education courses specifically for education majors at Indiana University South Bend. Her official title is Department Chair of Professional Educational Services and Assistant Professor of Science Education for IU South Bend’s School of Education. Terri has been living in South Bend, Indiana, for 6 years. Since arriving in 2012, she has enjoyed learning about and visiting special places, such as the Dunes, and capturing memorable moments through her lens. Instagram @terrih1957

August – Michelle Bosstel

Michelle is 35 years old and has lived in NWI her entire life. She has 2 absolutely amazing kids who fill her life with more beauty than she could ever capture on film. Michelle enjoys spending time with her encouraging and supportive family and friends, but her passion of outdoor photography is a great way to unwind and spend a little “me time.” And what better place to be able to do that than at The Dunes!

September – Karen Feczko

Karen is a mom to 3 fabulous kids and is currently a part time cake decorator for Dyer Dairy Queen while trying to transition into elementary education. She is also a proud member of the running community where she usually heads out on the trails and roads of our national Lakeshore. It is where the majority of her photos are taken. This winning photo was taken as you walk onto the beach from the main parking lot. (Just east of the pavilion). Karen loves our national Lakeshore!!

October – Paul Lawson

About four years ago Paul took up photography and fell in love with it. There have been many hobbies that he started, mastered and moved on. Photography is different because it can’t be mastered and Paul loves that. There are always new challenges. What he likes the most is making people smile, think and look at their world differently. Paul was born with a good eye and that is a gift. Gifts are meant to be shared. Follow him on Instagram, @paullawson2016 and on Facebook, Lawson Imagery.

November – Chad Ulam

Chad is currently living in Phoenix, Arizona as a Google Photographer traveling all over the states & Australia shooting marketing, interior and exterior pictures for businesses. He lived in Michigan City Indiana until 2011 when he decided to sell everything and drive across the country to find his next place to live. He lived out of his car for 4 months in search of the perfect environment. Although an avid lover of the dunes, he decided to set up camp in Arizona. Chad has worked with many different companies throughout the country doing what he loves. Follow his journey on Instagram @chadulam

December – Jenny Soffin

Born in Indiana, Jenny Soffin fell in love with the beach at an early age. Life has taken her to Illinois, Michigan, California and back, but the Indiana Coast is where she calls home. Enjoying everything outdoorsy, hiking the Dunes with her dog Sally and boating Lake Michigan with her family are tops. This wife and mom of two, is also the Founder of The IN Coast, Northwest Indiana’s fun, new lifestyle brand. Her brand celebrates the wonderful life we get to live on Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes. Jenny loves “Digs the Dunes” and is thrilled to be part of this beautiful calendar AGAIN!


How can you purchase a calendar? There are two ways! You can go to our online shop, or you can join us at our Calendar Release Party at Running Vines in downtown Chesterton on December 5. We hope to have all the photographers there, as well as entertainment with Sam and Elle, some appetizers and some holiday goodies for sale from local vendors!



Welcome to Dig the Dunes!

Dig the Dunes uncovers all the secrets of the dunes! From trails and beaches, to people, places, events and even the history and geology. Visit our page frequently for fun facts and new adventures for you to embark upon!

We offer lots of classes like beach glass art, jewelry making, wine and canvas, hikes, comedy shows and more!

Questions or ideas? email us at