Digital photographer at Ann’s Choice captures campus beauty

Created date

December 18th, 2019
Harry Beam captured this lone robin on a snowy day at Ann’s Choice.

Harry Beam captured this lone robin on a snowy day at Ann’s Choice. 

Walk anywhere on the Ann’s Choice campus, and you’re likely to see Harry Beam taking pictures. His iPhone is always ready to capture flowers in bloom, residents at play, or a special event. 

“It started as a retirement hobby,” says Harry. “I ran around with a little Canon camera, then I got an iPhone, and it grew from there. Whenever I see a good shot, I grab my phone and click.”

Harry gets lots of good shots on the 103-acre Ann’s Choice campus. He says, “When we moved here in 2016, I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. It inspires me to keep taking pictures.” 

His talent behind the lens has made him the community’s go-to photographer. His pictures often appear in the Tribune and on the Ann’s Choice Resident’s website,, and app, My Erickson. 

Chelsea Rounds, Community TV Coordinator at Ann’s Choice, says Harry is her top contributor. “Every morning, he sends me an email loaded with photos. No matter the subject, they’re always beautiful.” 

To share all of Harry’s work, Rounds created the “Grab Bag of Harry Beam Photos” on the website. “He’s amazing,” says Rounds. “I can’t wait to see what he’ll send next.”

From print to digital

Harry was always the family documentarian, shooting rolls of film on vacation and creating huge photo albums. As he was finishing the tenth volume, he discovered the ease and simplicity of digital photography. 

Now, Harry uploads and stores all of his photos on his computer. He uses Picasa, Google’s photo editing and organizing software, which lets him add captions and special effects. “I love playing with it,” he says. “If I like something, I build on it with the next picture.”

Harry admits that he doesn’t always understand “what’s under the hood” of the devices and software he uses. “If I want to know how something works, I call my grandkids,” he says with a smile. “They’re the experts. I’m just having fun.”

Seniors want digital access

Like most seniors, Harry actively uses technology every day. Among Americans over 65, 66% perform a range of activities online, from banking and shopping to staying connected. The number of seniors who go online at least once daily has skyrocketed to 75%, and 58 % say technology has positively impacted their lives.

Erickson Living is doing its part to keep community members connected. In addition to providing high-speed internet and Wi-Fi, the company launched the website and My Erickson app, both of which keep residents apprised of everything going on at their communities.

Hans Keller, Erickson Living’s chief information officer, says, “The response to the My Erickson app has been tremendous. The number of residents enrolled doubled from last year, and we expect to reach 75% enrollment this year. We’re integrating Alexa into My Erickson, enabling residents to ask for the information they need.”

Harry says he uses My Erickson daily to track activities and menus, find friends, and much more. “Every time an activity starts, my phone beeps,” he says, “so I always know where to be.” 

Keller notes, “Technology is not stratified by age. Residents like Harry have embraced devices, apps, and websites that enable them to perform daily tasks, stay connected, and explore new worlds. Erickson Living will continue to provide residents with innovative tools and fast connectivity so they can use technology in ways that work best for them.”