Featured Artist: Martin Ramirez

Featured Artist: Martin Ramirez

Featured Artist - Martin Ramirez

Ladies and gentlemen, today it is our distinct honor to welcome Martin Ramirez to the UNTC blog. A man of many tantalizing talents, Martin's ever expanding bag of tricks has been steadily growing over the past couple of years to include aerial maneuvers, underwater wonderment, and land laden lavishness. Yet as awesome as his abundant abilities are, it's the company that he keeps and the drive he puts forth that truly speak volumes about the quality of his character and his craft. 

Right off the bat, let’s get started with everyone’s favorite question... can you tell us a little about yourself and how it is you managed to get into photography?

Hello thank you for having me!  Im Martin Ramirez a landscape photographer.  So basically when I was younger I was really into making skateboarding videos throughout middle school and highschool of my friends and I.  I stopped making videos when i was around 18 and just kept on skating.  Well a few years ago i was going on a skateboarding trip to LA and I wanted to start making vlogs on skateboarding.  I opened a best buy credit card and purchased a Sony 6500.  Turns out I was extremely bad at vlogging and I decided to start taking some photos of skateboarding instead.  I ended up going on a trip up north with a few friends.  I believe from that point is when I truly fell in love with landscape photography and Lake Superior.  

This year you began taking your talents under the sea to see what you could see... what made you want to get into underwater photography, especially in the unforgiving shores of Lake Superior?

I wanted to try something new and be able to get some different perspectives.  I went to Hollow Rock with George and he took some amazing icicles photos during the sunrise.  I knew it was going to be a big mental challenge also.  I had to buy a new camera, water case, wet suit, gloves and boots meant for cold water.  George was kind of enough to give me some pointers.   

What have been the biggest challenges thus far and what have you learned from your underwater adventures?

So i'm actually terrified of deep water.  So getting past that fear is still difficult even now.  Actually wave shots I have found to be extremely difficult for me.  I really haven't figured them out yet.  I learned to definitely respect the power of Lake Superior.  A few weeks ago I was up at Split Rock shooting some waves shots.  Once I was done I was trying to get back to the shore and it was extremely difficult.  The ground was mossy so it was super slippery.  The water was actually pulling me further into the lake which ended up being a terrifying experience.
Speaking of your time on the water, you recently went a wandering with the group of gallivanting goofballs we are affectionately deeming Preston’s Paddle Pals – patent pending (Preston Buechler, Derek Warner and Tyler Godes)... how did you get mixed up in such a rough crowd and how did you all decide that Tyler Godes should be the featured focus of everyone’s photos at least for a while afterwards? 😂 

It was so random actually.  Tyler and I had planned to go up north and get sunrise.  We had to postpone a few times.  I got this wild idea that we should do sunrise from the base of Palisade head.  I sent Preston a DM and he was all in for it.  Preston rented a canoe which fit him,me and his puppy Nala.  We started paddling around like 3:20 A.M and it took about an hour to paddle nearly 2 miles.  As far as Tyler being the center of attention for photos.  I believe it's because he had the nicest haircut between us all.

Only teasing of course. We love all of those guys dearly and have had the pleasure of featuring each before here on our blog. In all seriousness, what have you learned from hanging out with these fine fellow photographers?

I feel like we all learned from each other when we were together.  Tyler joined me in the water so it was awesome to see the shots he was able to capture.   

Preston’s Paddle Pals™ are not the only crowd you happen to run with. You recently returned from a road trip to Glacier National Park, taken with a wholly different band of brothers. How was the trip? How was the company? And how were the photos?

The road trip was an absolute dream!  We stopped at 5 national parks in 10 days.  Although we didn't wake up for multiple sunrises I believe we needed sleep.  My friends who joined me were top notch.  We went on a backpacking adventure into the Crazy Mountains which was led by Chris Adams(@trapadams).  What was supposed to be a 2.7 mile hike to the lake actually ended up being 8 miles one way.  We never actually made it to the lake.  We also ran out of food the first night.  The photos from the trip have been some of my favorites I've taken thus far.  Wildlife photography has been a blast on this trip.  Most of the animals have been super photogenic also.  I'm pretty bummed I didn't get my Grizzly photo though.

Like many of the photographers we have had the pleasure of profiling, in addition to underwater and boots-on-the-ground photography, you also shoot wildlife and drone photography as well. Which subject matter would you say is your favorite? Which challenges you the most?  

I would say wildlife became my new favorite to shoot.  Its been the most satisfying.  I think water photography has to be most challenging.  There is a lot of extra work that needs to be done prior to getting into the water.   

As you are well aware a little while ago we asked our Instagram followers what kinds of things they would like us to ask you about during this interview. So here it is straight from the horse’s mouth...

What’s your favorite thing about photography?

The memories I make.  

How do you see yourself 5 years from now ?

That's a tough one to answer.  I don't really have a set goal so i'm pretty much living day by day. 

Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Dog for sure.  I have a dog named Nacho (landseal).

How long have you been skateboarding?

I've been skateboarding for 12 years now.  It's starting to catch up on me now.

Who is Ramon? (He’ll know what this means)

Ramon - That's my cousin Jose.  He likes to call himself Ramon randomly for some reason.

Do you think Lake Superior is cold?

I took off my wetsuit once.  Yeah never making that mistake again. 

What’s your favorite f-stop?


Alright getting back to the script...

After following you for a while now, it has come to our attention that your family is in the restaurant business... I know I’ve asked you before, but just so we have it on official record for our viewing audience - where is your favorite place to eat and what is the best thing on the menu?

When I'm around home I usually go to Applebees.  When I'm out taking photos it's usually Olive Garden.

My favorite thing on our menu would be Burrito San Jose.  It is a 10 inch flour tortilla with grilled chicken and chorizo inside.  Topped off with cheese dip with a side of rice and guac salad.  Be sure to stop. We have 2 locations.  One in Howard Lake and the other one is in Glencoe.  Maria's Mexican Restaurant.

Coming from a background in the food industry, when you travel up and down the North Shore are there any particular places that you happen to highly recommend stopping at along the way?

I would recommend stopping by this little restaurant in Finland.  It's called "Our Place". 10/10 hits the spot everytime.   

In our previous interview with John Keefover, you submitted a question for him on Instagram revealing that he had never been to the iconic Betty’s Pies establishment… but isn't it true, as he stated, that you too have never stopped in for a slice? How can this be?? How about the Rustic Inn a little further up the road (also amazing pie) ?

I haven't stopped by either of the 2.  As much as I've always wanted to stop for some pie their parking lot is always packed so i usually just keep driving.  

Alright back to the serious business of photography... what resources do you use for improving your skills? What have been some of the biggest lessons you have learned since you first picked up a camera?

I tried YouTube when i first started for tips and such.  I use an app called Planit Pro and it tells me where exactly sunrise or sunset will be from my exact location.  One of the biggest lessons was to not shoot Jpeg.  I shoot jpeg for a while and always wondered why photos would fall apart so easily. 

What would you say is your approach to editing? Do you tend to favor certain tones or would you say you prefer to capture the moment as close to natural as you can?

I usually mess with the temperature slider first.  I usually don't like to be cool or warm.  During sunrise or sunsets and even winter I do prefer a bit more of a blue tint.  Yeah I also try not over saturate my photos.    

What would you say is your favorite thing about shooting in Minnesota? And favorite location to shoot?

Definitely shooting sunrises.  I would say the North shore is my favorite place to shoot.  The fact that you can shoot milky way from multiple locations and the have the sunrise on the lake.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Do you happen to have a favorite photo you’ve ever taken?

Moraine Lake Sunrise.  Hands down the most unreal sunrise I've ever seen still.

Who are your heroes? (Photography or otherwise)

Paul Nicklen is honestly hands down my favorite photographer. 

Any bucket shots on your list?

Only 1 on my mind so far.  Grizzly bear fishing for Salmon.  I'm going to Alaska next summer for it.  Just patiently waiting for it now.

What’s one piece of advice you would offer someone who is just starting out as a photographer?

Assuming it's and landscape photographer.  Get prepared for all nighters and becoming a morning person.

This one comes from our previous featured artist John Keefover who would like to know... what’s the most work you’ve put into one photo?

Mount Storm King photo where I caught the bird.  My buddy Brandon took an insane photo there a few years ago.  I wanted to experience it also.  I never actually hiked previous to this.  It was a 2 mile hike up a mountain and literally 2 hours of switchbacks.  The last part of the hike required holding onto ropes to get on the ridge.  I never felt so out of shape in my life until that day.  I didn't plan on leaving the top either until I caught a bird. 

What one question would you ask our next featured person? (Anything you like. Doesn’t have to be about photography- it may or may not be a fellow photographer who goes next)

Do you call it pop or soda?  

Time to pay it forward... who else would you like to see featured on this blog?

Im going to name a few
Matt Varin
Alejandro Diaz
Colin Willemsen

Thank you so much for your time.


Find more Martin Ramirez goodness in these places online...

Instagram: @martinjrmn
Web: martinjrmn.com












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