Written by Erick Ramirez of Erick Ramirez Photography
I had a big thought in mind for a long time. That thought was moving across the country from Florida to Washington State. It was a big decision since I would leave my family, but this is something that I wanted to do and my wife was on board with the idea. We had planned it for over a year and decided to make it into a two-week road trip, visiting a couple of states.
On our last few days in Florida, we said our goodbyes to those closest to us. As the big move came closer, I was getting nervous and excited. Nervous because of moving far away was a huge step especially barely knowing anyone out there and knowing so little of about the city we were moving to. I was confident on the move though especially having Ewa by my side. This move would be more of an adventure and working on my photography goals through the Pacific Northwest.
Leaving a part of my life behind would be difficult since I spent about twenty years in Florida. From my friends to my favorite places to hang out and photograph. One other thing I was looking forward to is sharing my adventures with my family and friends since most of them have not been out west. Giving something back to your loved ones is something I always cherish since it would bring a smile on their faces. Documenting these moments through social media and having prints of these places hung around rooms would be priceless and cherished.
We took to the road in the beginning of July driving through a couple of states in two days until we reached one of our main spots in southern Utah. I didn’t realize how far we were from Florida until we got there. It had me missing my family since I didn’t know when would be the next time I would see them, but I was on a mission to make them proud. We stayed at an AirBnb near Zion National Park and were there for about four days. The views in this park are out of this world and one could easily see everything in about a day. I was jokingly talking to my mother over the phone of how the Florida weather followed us in Utah because of all the storms and humidity. That did not stop us from venturing out into the park and taking some photos. The mood settled nicely and made colors pop everywhere. These views were not to be taken for granted, especially for being there for a couple of days. We took it all in, from the Watchman to the beautiful Observation Point. It was a spectacular sight. It reminded me of how far I have come as a photographer. Capturing beaches, to capturing mountains. It brought me more motivation to become a better person and creative.
Once our time came to an end in Utah, I had a sense of excitement since we would be staying with Ewa’s family in California. This reminded me of my family back in Florida since I heard a lot of great things about them and how they welcomed me with open arms. Another personal favorite reason of mine to going to California is the weather and beaches were similar. I felt right at home from the very beginning, but this wasn’t my stop. I spoke to my family about Ewa’s family and how they accepted me. They were glad to know I was safe and sound. I spent most of my time at beaches, putting my feet in the sand and hearing the crash of the waves. It brought back memories and a sense of calmness. Ewa and I captured the beauty of Southern California and knew that we had to come back another day to be with her family.
We made our final driving days up to Washington and this was just the beginning of everything. Coming this far is what I wanted a long time ago, but working for it would be the adventure. I know it won’t be easy, especially with not so many friends around. Sharing my story with my family is certainly in my grasp and by doing this is having my photos hung up on their walls.
My family has never visited these places before and I had the proposal of bringing these places to their home. My eyes are always on the lookout for a story to tell through my photographs. What I would see is what my family would see. It would connect us through our hung prints and a special photo book of our two-week journey across the country.
Each shot was specifically composed to remember my family by. For my mother, the sun illuminating the beach representing the life she gives. My father, the Grand Canyon as to how strong he is to keeping our family together. Last but not least, my brothers being represented in the Washington scenery, for me knowing that they are still growing as the trees in the Evergreen state.
Social media and phones are there to communicate every day, but we don’t see the sentimental value through a print sometimes. What would we have left when signals go out or everything gets whipped out on Facebook? A print will always be on a wall to connect us, tell a story, and knowing that there is more to document in the world.