For those yearning for a change of scenery – either literally, if you’re sick of the sight of snow – or figuratively – if you’re tired of hearing about environmental issues… here is some light relief. A few days ago I arrived on the Big Island of Hawaii, where I am staying at a friend’s glorious ranch halfway up a mountain, with spectacular views of the distant ocean. Without wanting to make you too jealous (well, okay, just a little bit) here are some photos of a few plants from the garden.

P1140138You may notice that these piccies are a major step up from my usual dodgy old iPhone photos. This is thanks to Joan in Atlanta, who has arranged to loan me an Olympus EP-1. My little photo retrospective of 2009, mostly photographed by me, but with the final few slides by my talented photographer friend Jules, had borne silent witness to the shortcomings of an iPhone camera. The contrast between his shots and mine was too stark to be ignored. Having been a pro photographer for a few years (2000 to 2003 approx) I was embarrassed by the inferior quality of my pictures. Joan came to the rescue, on the strict proviso that this camera does NOT go to sea.

I’m quite impressed with the EP-1. Intuitive and easy to use, with most of the capabilities of an SLR but a lot smaller, it saves the extra weight and bulk by not having a viewfinder other than the LCD screen. I also love the optional square format. I used to have a pre-digital medium format camera – showing my age, here. Mine was a Mamiya 645, but now I can pretend I have a top-of-the-range Hasselblad, as used on the Apollo space missions.

Today it has been great fun strolling around the ranch, looking out for things to photograph, as a kind of meditation on nature and a therapeutic contrast to the ongoing fallout from the Copenhagen theft (still no replacement driver’s licence, so I can’t drive, credit card and SIM card also still in transit, and this morning the USB ports on my brand new laptop went belly-up – sigh! This too will pass….).

While we’re on the tech stuff, a couple of other recommendations for the geekily-minded iPhone and/or Mac user.

P1140142Favourite new apps:

Things, for managing To Do lists on iPhone and Mac. Dead simple to use. Does all it needs to do, and nothing more. Has been used frequently recently when brain starts buzzing during jetlag-affected nights. Sync brain to iPhone, sync iPhone to Mac. Wake up in morning (or whenever) to well-organized To Do list. Easy!

iStayFit for the iPhone, for managing workouts and monitoring weight. I’m having a much-needed post-Christmas detox, and this has really helped keep me motivated. Cute little demos for each exercise. And as I have my iPhone with me in the gym anyway, so I can listen to inspirational podcasts, it’s ideal!

Nearest Tube for the iPhone, for finding your nearest tube station in London. Admittedly of limited use in Hawaii (!) but I’m just loving the new “Augmented Reality” concept generally. The way of the future, methinks. I could try to describe it, but I think you have to try it to really get it. Or try watching the video.

1Password for iPhone and Mac, for managing website logins and recording details of credit cards, drivers licence, etc. Allows you to log in to websites with just one click – ID and password are automatically entered. Can also be used to generate highly secure passwords.

P1140150TextExpander for iPhone and Mac, for those commonly used words, phrases and paragraphs – or even a whole page. e.g. I’ve set mine up so that SF automatically expands to San Francisco, with a satisfying little popping noise.

Tetris for iPhone, a dangerous waste of time, but great fun. I originally only bought it as a tribute to my Hawaii host, who owns the worldwide rights to the game, but it is amazing how satisfying it can be to plop small geometric objects into an interlocking pattern

Distant Shore, gorgeous graphics and very therapeutic for the jetlagged insomniac. You walk along a virtual beach, with gentle surf sounds to soothe you, beachcombing for seashells. Gather 5 shells and you get to write a message in a (virtual) bottle and throw it into the (virtual) sea. And occasionally you receive a message, at random, from another Distant Shore player. While I would be the last person in the world to endorse throwing anything at all into the sea, I deem this acceptable.

Green Calculator. Okay, sorry, I almost made it to the end of the blog without mentioning matters green. But I just can’t help myself. This is a cute calculator, with some good tips on reducing your environmental impact, but like any other calculator I’ve seen it doesn’t factor in what you buy and what you eat, which for many people will boost their footprint substantially. I suspect that our world is now so incredibly complex, with foods and goods whizzing every which way across the planet, these calculations are simply incalculable, but if anybody knows otherwise….?

I hope you enjoy these apps as much as I do – and remember, you can always choose to uninstall Tetris. “Yeah, man, I can give it up any time I want….”!

Roz Savage is a British ocean rower and environmental campaigner. She has rowed solo across the Atlantic Ocean and is attempting to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific.
A latecomer to the life of adventure, Roz worked as a management consultant for 11 years before setting out in a new life direction – in a rowboat. In 2005, she competed in the 3,000-mile Atlantic Rowing Race. In 2008 she became the first woman to row solo from California to Hawaii. In 2009 she continued her Pacific bid by rowing from Hawaii to Kiribati. The third and final stage of her Pacific row takes place in Spring 2010, when she attempts to row from Kiribati to Australia.
Roz Savage is a United Nations Climate Hero and an Athlete Ambassador for 350.org. She has been listed amongst the Top 20 Great British Adventurers by the Daily Telegraph, and the Top 10 Adventure Twitters by Outside Magazine. Her book, Rowing The Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean, is published by Simon & Schuster.

16 Comments

  • I’m glad you’re enjoying it, Roz. I really love using the E-P1. It’s up for Best Camera of 2009 here: http://www.photographyreview.com/qikVote_2555crx.aspx . It won my own magazine’s Hot One award for digital SLR in its price range. (Those awards come out in the Feb. issue of Professional Photographer magazine, ppmag.com). It is a truly fun, quality camera, and I love the styling, which is based on the Olympus Pen of the late ’50s and early ’60s. Can’t wait to see if you get some nice video with it, too.

  • I too, have been looking for new equipment. I just returned from Ziuahtenjo,MX and my camera was not holding a charge at all. I managed to pick off 80 pictures before she died.Kodakz740, old, but it does have capabilities.I posted some pictures on my Facebook page. Only the best ,of course. I was thinking of you Roz as I looked out over the grand vista of blue ocean. A storm rolled in one day , waves , wind, and my only thought was what a brave soul you are. At night I was looking out, and the darkness of being alone in the middle of the ocean,well,nothing shy of being totally in the elements was more than I could bring myself to ever consider. I live vicariously through your endeavors. Thank you for keeping me inspired. All the best today. AmyinAustin.

  • Roz, sounds like — and looks like — you are detoxing and “hibernating” in heaven. Thanks for the diversion. Wonderful close-ups. Please take some wide angle and distant shots out at the ocean as Amy describes. Would love to see the grand vistas you are enjoying.

    Joan, you are a great friend to loan Roz such a great camera. Love the recent additions to your top page, especially the smoky movie and the juicy peach, but the dancing leaf will always be a favorite! I will be following your eco-adventure right along with Roz’s: great goals, gallery and support pages. Suggestion: a link to your top page embedded in your name would be cool.

    Amy, your description of the stormy ocean at night took my imagination where it wanted to be … thanks!

  • Doug – I’ve tried taking some pics of the distant ocean, but it is so hazy here that they really don’t come out well. Unfortunately a grand vista does not always make a grand photo! It loses a lot in translation…

  • I’m not sure exactly where you are, but you may be near one of my favorite vacation places in the whole world: The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Kohala Coast. When I lived on Oahu years ago, I’d fly over to the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for wonderful weekends. At the time, the MKB was owned by Rockresorts, the parent company formed by Laurance Rockefeller, which also owned “the hotel I most want to visit in the whole world, but have never yet stayed at” which is Caneel Bay on St. John. The MKB had unbelievably beautiful art, gorgeous gardens, unsurpassable food, and stunning beaches. It closed for a while following an earthquake, but I understand that it reopened a year ago. You’re right … you’re in a perfect place for a healthful detox program! Most of all, after your blizzard experience in Europe, you deserve it! Welcome back to beautiful Hawaii!

  • Mmmm… a “pro photographer for a few years”? How can that be? You never once mentioned you were a professional photographer in any of your biographies, and how could you have been a professional photographer if you were in marketing before becoming an “Eco-Adventurer”? Seems you’re still continuing to market now – only yourself. I know many of your fans haven’t caught on, but plenty of others have…. By the way, how can you promote yourself as helping save the world, while you jet around the earth to suit your personal whims? And if you have the money to fly all around the world at will, why did you ask others to donate money to you so you could ‘walk’ to Brussels??? Some piece of work.

  • WOW Mary, just wow. If you took some time to check the sponsor tab, you will see Roz is well supported by many companies and people. I follow her site for the sailing adventures. I’m ashamed that a fellow American could be so rude to say what you said to her. Where do you get off questioning her integrity? She doesn’t fly around in a private plane, she uses scheduled flights that would spew carbon even if she wasn’t on board. Roz, not all Americans are as rude as Mary.

  • Jerry – I know.

    99.9% of Americans I have met are lovely, kind, hospitable people. Some of them even get their facts right. I have never at any time been in marketing. For the information of Mary, I took portraits of babies and pictures of weddings for 3 years, from 2000 to 2003, between being a management consultant and going on my first expedition (to Peru). Full resume available on request. Portfolio in my mother’s garage.

    (I won’t make my bank accounts public, but take it from me, if I’d had the money to cover the cost of BB2B I could have saved myself a lot of trouble and hard work in gathering sponsors and sending out the rewards.)

  • Internet rule #1 “Don’t Feed The Trolls.” 🙂 Good come back though. As I started down the comments had intention of adding another great app. as a suggestion. But I should also add compliments for the photo’s. I teach a digital photography course to “oldies” U3A (http://tinyurl.com/ybueyyk) here in hot & sunny Lake Macquarie (http://tinyurl.com/ybueyyk) so I know what a pleasure it is to actually be in a place that’s worth photographing. Software… an app that I really get a lot of use out of is “EVERNOTE” (http://evernote.com) it’s “Your external brain.” Cross platform and web based as well as a great free iPhone app. The whole service is free* (*basic – 40mb/mth; premium 500mb/mth – $45/year) and it’s designed to help save the environment 😉 By providing a reliable place to store all sorts of snippets of info there is not a need to print out nearly as much stuff.. less printing = energy & resources saved. Its’s also possible to have shared notebooks that you can make public or just available to friends. I use it all the time , and no I don’t work for them. Cheers, look forward to maybe seeing you in Australia, Jim Bell

  • Hi Jim – yup, I know the rule, but I really just want to be understood. 😉

    VERY good call on Evernote. I suppose I didn’t mention it because it’s not one of my new apps. I’ve been using it for about a year now, and it’s great! I use it for saving flight itineraries, pages from the internet, emails, and all kinds of notes. I haven’t got into using the voice notes yet, although I can imagine situation when that might be useful.

    And what I really like about it is that, like Things, I can use it from inside almost any other app, so I don’t have to leave the screen I’m on to save something to my notebooks.

    As a wandering nomad I don’t have a printer, but because I can sync so much from my laptop to my iPhone I don’t miss printouts at all!

    Hope to see you in Oz!

  • You actually create it seem therefore easy along with your presentation but I notice this topic to be really something which I suppose I’d never understand. It looks too complicated and terribly broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I can strive to induce the suspend of it!

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