Last week was my dad’s birthday. He would have been 81 years old. Sadly, my dad passed away in February of 2001, 14 years ago, and just a couple weeks after his 67th birthday. Too soon.
My dad was the most creative person I have ever known. I’d like to think some of what I now share with all of you, comes from him. My dad loved his job. He loved his life. During the week he went to Chicago every day to “play” Creative Director. I say play, because work for him, was not work — he liked it too much. He spent weekends up in his studio drawing and painting. Always using a different medium, always changing his style. He encouraged my brother and I to be creative. To draw, to paint, to write.
This week I was out walking on the beach and thinking about him and it hit me. After all these years, I am finally understanding who he was. Without even realizing it, I have found my passion — just like him. And that passion has been discovering nature, finding the beauty in it, taking photos, and sharing it with you. Being able to write this blog has allowed me to express myself even more, and I appreciate you all for letting me do so.
Although I’ve lived in the dunes for 10 years, I really just started getting outside and in touch with nature about 4 years ago. I’ve always loved the beach, but hadn’t really discovered all the trails until a few years back. It was a couple years ago that I started taking pictures — just for fun. As I posted them on Facebook, I was surprised by how many people liked them. I never thought of myself as a photographer (and actually some true photographers probably don’t care much for me saying that I am!) All my photos are taken on my iPhone. Rarely retouched. I’ll bump the contrast or saturation every once in awhile, but not much else. — Mainly it’s just me, my phone and my eye. I love it. Posting my photos to Facebook and receiving such wonderful comments is what keeps me going. I am not a professional photographer by any means.
With this week’s blog, I’m calling all of you to get outside and take some photos. I promise you that when you are taking a photo of something beautiful, your photo will be beautiful. When looking through your phone frame, just use your eyes before you snap. Take notice of the surroundings — where is the tree? would it look better off to the side or in the center? is the horizon line straight? (a crooked photo is a peeve of mine!), where in the frame would you like your horizon line? All these things can make a difference.
This time of year, there are so many beautiful spots to take photos. The beach is always the perfect choice. The shelf ice, sand and waves bring something different every day. Drive down Kemil road (off of 12) and when you hit the end of the road you will see my favorite spot. I think it’s impossible to take a bad photo from that corner. The way the trees frame the beach makes it picture perfect! The Indiana Dunes State Park also has some wonderful places to take photos. When looking to the right of the main parking lot, the board walk can make a beautiful shot. The stairs, bridges and creeks also make for very interesting photos. Don’t be afraid to crouch down when taking those pictures. Your camera (phone) can almost be touching the ground. You can also play with the light with your phone. Try holding it at different angles.
Last week I took a photo in Beverly Shores and thought it looked so much like a painting. I mentioned that someone should try to paint it. Susan Pfeuffer-Powel and Robert Stanley did! They both created beautiful paintings on their computers. It made me smile to know that someone saw my picture and it inspired them to create something.
A Facebook friend posed this question the other day… “Are there people who actually enjoy life or is everyone just making the best of it until they die?” This made me stop and think. I was somewhat surprised by answer. “I do enjoy life. More so now then ever. I stop and take moments when I’m enjoying things so that i can remember it and appreciate it. Over the last few years i’ve started getting outside a lot. Trail walks, beach walks, time outside alone with my dog. And that is when I truly, 100% enjoy life!”
I get it Dad. I finally get it.
Keep digging those dunes!
My family and I created the Dale E. Landsman Arts Foundation in memory of my father. This week we are excited to announce that we have given $1,000 to Jim Musial at Sand Castle (Citizens Concerned for the Homeless) for his Art Awareness project with Nichole Renee Scheaffer.