Jan 2nd, 2013

2012 – Year in Review: Photos

By Nick Robison

I don’t take a lot of photos, they don’t really do much for me. I tend to have a pretty good memory of things and having pictures around doesn’t really add much to the recall. Also, I hate schlepping a camera around and stoping and fiddling with settings while trying to immortalize a locale as a digital copy. I also tend to take photos of things rather then people, which limits their emotional value. Still, this past year I made a concerned effort to document the places I went and the people I met, just so I could share all my memories with you. One of the reasons I was more keen to perform this task was the rise of geolocation within both Aperture (my software of choice) and Facebook. Meaning, my life could now be segmented into both exotic and lame places in time and space. A boon to a budding informaticist like myself.

oh the places you'll go....
oh the places you’ll go….

So, without further rambling, mincing of words, or otherwise lame attempts to channel my inner Charles Dickens and thus avoid any opportunity to use one word when seven will do, I present:

Top 10 11 Photos of 2012!!!!!! (in roughly chronological order)

The Bros with they mustachios
Bros with Mustaches

This photo was taken at my best friend Chas’ wedding back in January. Pictured are myself and the 3 gentlemen I lived with during my first Senior year, and last full year at Purdue. They are tremendous individuals and were part of the first place that I ever felt was home beyond my parents’ house. One is currently deployed to Qatar, one is moving to Pittsburgh, and one lives in West Lafayette. I miss them greatly but am very proud of the men they’ve become.

Dansk Familie i Holbæk
Dansk Familie i Holbæk

I actually didn’t take this photo (thanks Dad), but I realized I didn’t have a good photo of my Danish host parents (Søren and Dorthe), or one of Lucas (rocking the Purdue sweatshirt), so I co-opted this one. Here we are at an Ice Cream shop down by the harbor in Holbæk, the town I actually lived in. My parents were visiting and we had a great time biking downtown, especially watching my mom try and handle a bike.

Dansk Familie i Christiania
Dansk Familie i Christiania

Here’s the remainder of my host family. Lasse (on the left) is one of their cousins, Oliver (center) was the oldest boy, and Signe (on the right) was the youngest girl. I don’t have any pictures of Saskia, the oldest, as she didn’t live with us.

In case you’re wondering those last 2 photos count as 1, because when you put them together you get a whole family. So there.

Helsinki Cathedral
Helsinki Cathedral

Over the past few months I’ve look at dozens if not hundres of stunningly beautiful buildings all around the world. Eventually, they all start to blend together and it becomes hard to remember which is which. Unless they have a story. The National Cathedral in Helsinki is built directly across from the National Library. Both buildings were designed by the same architect and face each other across a narrow road. When asked why he designed them in this fashion the architect answered: ‘because religion and science are in constant dialogue.’

The London Eye, at night.
The London Eye, at night.

For a 2 week period of time, there were Robisons flying all over the place trying to converge on Heathrow for a weekend of partying and sightseeing in the British capital. This was my 3rd trip to London, but a first for Dan and Nate. We met up with our lovely British lady Bronwen and tore it up for a Friday-Monday haul. I snapped this photo late at night while Nate and I were trying to find a place to eat before heading back to the hotel. For those of you who are interested, it’s an ISO 400, 23mm, f/9, 2.5s image with a small amount of image adjustment. It’s a little blurry, but I love the saturation of the blues.

Old Town (Tallinn)
Old Town (Tallinn)

I really like Panoramas, I love the sense of space and the attempt to truly see the world as it appears in real life, I’ve been practicing over the past couple of years and have become pretty good at controlling for exposures and color shifts. This particular image was taken from the heart of the Old Town in Tallinn, Estonia. If it looks cold it’s because it was, terribly cold, and they don’t melt the ice from the sidewalks meaning any excursion into the white space is an exercise in precision stepping and facing sheer terror. I’ve included a bonus image to illustrate my point.

Ice on the Roads
see, dangerous
Boiler up.
Boiler up.

Another co-opted piece (thanks Dan). It took nearly 5 years to the day for me to finally graduate from college. Over the time I had 3 majors, authored 1 piece of state legislation and 1 academic paper, went on 3 dates, was on academic probation twice, was hospitalized twice, got rejected from 4 graduate programs at 3 schools, and learned more about myself and grew more with God then I had in the proceeding 18 years. I met some incredible people, made some memories, learned a little bit in a lot of domains, and finally found my calling. I’m thankful that it’s finally over and that I can finally move on, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to go there and for my friends, family, and parents for supporting me in everything. Ever grateful, ever true.

The mark of something.
The mark of something.

This is a picture of my little cousin Arabella’s foot with a bus stamp from the San Diego Zoo. Zoos are some of my favorite places in the world and during a trip to San Diego this summer I strong-armed my family into taking me and the little cousins to the zoo for the day. It was as great as it sounds. I also discovered that cameras are great fun for little ones and if you bring one along with you, don’t expect to get too many shots off. Also, fingerprints aren’t that hard to wipe off Nikors.

Oh captain, my captain
Oh captain, my captain

Forgive me a moment of vanity, this is from the great 2012 Bro-trip from Indiana to Washington. Taken in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho I think this is a great picture not only of fun and adventure, but also of my magnificent ability to gaze into the future, yet retain the firm leadership necessary to guide such an iron moose to safety. Roadtrips are both amazing and awful, choose your compatriots carefully. Or you will suffer.

Mount Si Panorama
Mount Si Panorama

Another panorama, this one was taken from the top of Mount Si deep within the Snoqualmie Valley. For my first few weeks in Seattle, before I knew actuall people, I attempted to spend some time in the wilderness reconnecting with myself and proving I wasn’t a worthless flatlander. That lasted about 2 weeks. Still, my park pass is valid until August 2013, so there’s lots more time for me to wimp out.

Lake Agnes
Lake Agnes

In October had the opportunity to travel to Calgary, AB and present some of my undergraduate research at a technical conference. On the last day I skipped out and drove out to Banff National Park to spend the day exploring, hiking, and taking pictures. This one was taken at Lake Agnes, just up the mountain from the famous Lake Louise. While I was there the weather was pretty bad and I wasn’t prepared for real hiking but I still managed to cover some territory. I really like this photo because it gives a sense of being on the top of the world, right up against the roof of the sky. It also gives a sense of intensity, like nature is just barely constraining its wrath. It’s really different from the bright, flat images of the family’s beach vacation. Also, it was a bit of a hike to get up there and the area was noticeably absent of tourists, so I felt like I accomplished something.

Easy, most of us are single, but not need to rush.
Easy, most of us are single, but no need to rush.

One last bonus image. The Robison family circa November 2012. What a good looking bunch. It’s rare to find all of us in one place at one time, and smiling no less. Well, Julia’s doing that weird hip/lip thing, but it still counts.

Thus ends the visual tour of the past year. I hope yours was even more exciting and that 2013 will be even better.