CHINO HILLS STATE PARK
"Just hills as far as the eye could see painted yellow by the wild flowers of the incredible super bloom. The wind was blowing and I felt...free."
Nicholas Ram is a photographer, creative, and friend of mine for the past 8 years. Here is the day we shared.
Nick's Instagram: @nicholasram
How did we meet?
We met in middle school. As terrible as this may read, I don't recall much more than that. I feel we didn't really connect until sophomore year in high school. We had the same English class and sat next to each other all year, and I feel ever since then we have been connected in some way, through some social platform; including the adventure we recently shared.
What was your favorite part of the day we shared?
I can think exactly of my favorite part. Of course, I loved the entire day. Being able to go out to a new coffee shop and then go shoot in some wild flowers; who wouldn't love that? However, my favorite moment was sitting at the top of one of the hills overlooking the entire park. Just hills as far as the eye could see painted yellow by the wild flowers of the incredible super bloom. The wind was blowing and I felt...free. It was as if we left the place we knew so well, and found something greater. There were no buildings, no planes, no cars, it's truly indescribable, the feeling. That moment, those 15 minutes, no greater moment could have been shared than with you.
Do you think you're a creative person?
I like to think so. However, I feel most of the time I hinder myself. I have this great desire to write poetry, sing a song, and take everlasting photos, but I don't do any of it. I haven't quite figured what's stopping me. Or I do know and I just don't want to admit it to myself. I'm working on it. As with everyone, I think, I am a work in progress.
What do you like best about photography?
For me, photography has always been an creative outlet. As early as I can remember, I always had a camera. Growing up, my parents always bought me the Kodak disposable cameras and developed my film. Then, I upgraded to a digital camera and I used that for years. I think I stopped doing photography when I was in middle school up through high school; those weren't the best years. After graduating high school, realizing people weren't as judgmental in the real world, and accepting myself, I was able to find photography again. I made the decision to buy my first DSLR camera and I was thrust back into the love I had lost. Still, I am by no means a pro. Except, who needs to be? The thing I love about photography is capturing the moments I don't ever want to forget. All those tiny pixels recreate a timeless, beautiful memory and being a nostalgic person, photography is kind of my necessity.
Who inspires you most in life?
As cliche as it is, my parents. There are no other human beings that have encouraged and inspired me more. Their love knows no bounds and I don't know what I would do without them. My whole life, they have always wanted the best and been there for support. I know most parents do and want that for their children, but those parents aren't my parents, not to sound callous. These incredible humans have accepted and loved me. When I thought coming out to them would cause their love to waver, I never felt more loved. I always saw them work hard to give me the life they couldn't have and for that, I am forever indebted to them.
If you could be anything in the world what would it be and why?
I would be a multi-talented actor, singer, dancer, artist, writer, and photographer. Truly. All those things wrapped into the person that is me. However, I'd settle as a successful traveling photographer. No explanation needed for that.
Where do you call home?
Not to seem dramatic, but truthfully honest, I don't currently have a place to call home. I'm not homeless, I do live in an apartment and have adult furniture, but that's not home. I am still searching for that cozy, safe place. The home I knew for 22 years, I lost. My mom recently moved back to her home, in Texas, end of 2016. I think, will I ever have that? A place that calls to me and just feels...right? I think how lucky my mom is after living 20+ years in a state and in a city she didn't really feel was home, found her way back to a town she knew and loves. I hope to find that one day. Until then, the journey continues, because I know home is out there.
How many places have you traveled around the world?
Around the world? None. I have been to different states, most recently, Seattle, Washington and I fell in love with that city. However, travelling to different countries is still a goal.
What corner of the world calls out to you the most?
So many places. I have to say Barcelona or Ireland. Completely opposite of each other, but I have to experience both.
"In nature, everything is pure; the good, the bad, the ugly. "
What element of nature do you like the most and why?
I just love the the sense of feeling connected to something other than a material object. In nature, everything is pure; the good, the bad, the ugly. No matter what, there is beauty in everything. There is an escape of the hustle and bustle and that can't truly be replicated or found anywhere else.
Best songs/ artists to play on a road trip?
Any throwback song. I love listening to songs that you haven't listened to since you were 12, but you know the lyrics by heart as if you just learned it. No Doubt comes to my mind as I think about it. Even some Hilary Duff cause why not?
Sunsets or sunrises? Why?
That's a tough one. I would have to say, sunsets. I'm a nocturnal being and I love watching the world darken to night. It's beautiful and, ironically, the world lights up again, with city lights. Those views high above the city are views you just can't buy.
What is one thing that you love about yourself?
My sense of humor. That's something I feel I've always had. I was the shy, quiet kid, but the one thing people would always tell me is, I'm funny. I think that's my icebreaker and the trait that makes people want to befriend me. Of course, I can be a little too sarcastic for some people, but you can't win everybody, and that's okay.
What is one thing you would say to your future self?
You can do it. You will achieve it. Every low you've ever felt will be surpassed by all the highs you will encounter.
What is one goal you have for yourself right now?
I have too many for myself. Most of the time, my goal is to wake up before noon. I've decided to have small goals to achieve larger goals. I think I've always felt I needed to conquer these massive goals, but I'm learning it is the small victories that matter most. However, currently, my goal is to go out and shoot more and possibly collaborate with other photographers. I think I need to be surrounded by those who do to achieve what I want most.
Thank you for your open, thoughtful, and honest answers. I knew asking you to be my first "day we shared" friend would be fun and full of adventure. I love surrounding myself with dreamers - people who do not have it quite figured out, but that doesn't stop them from moving forward and creating goals. Thank you for teaching me that kindness is the heart of friendship, and healing is the soul of it. If there is anything I learned from the past 8 years of being your friend, it is that you are fully capable of whatever you dream of, and you are on the brisk of an even greater adventure up ahead. Thank you for sitting in silence with me. Thank you for the day we shared.