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Rév O'Conner

Types of climbing and mountaineering

Types of climbing and mountaineering

In the early days, there used to just be mountaineering. Early explorers went out of their way to climb the peaks unexplored by humankinds before them, for glory, adventure and discovery. Now most of the famous peaks have been climbed so adventurer and thrill seekers have taken bits and pieces out of mountaineering, most of those that deals with climbing and have turned them into a sport of their own. In this blog post we will look at all there is to climbing and the sports associated with it.

Types of climbing:


    1. Mountaineering 
        • Alpine Mountaineering (Not to be confused with Alpine style of climbing explained later) – The act of climbing a peak which lies in the Alps, hence the name. Also refers to any other type of mountain which resembles the Alps such as the Himalayas, the Karakoram etc. Usually when people say Mountaineering this is what comes to mind. The peaks are usually pretty remote and inaccessible and are above the permanent snow line. This type of mountaineering requires extensive trekking to reach the base of the peak, and start your climb. Cold and inhospitable weather with hurricane force winds are a part of this type of climbing. Mountaineering also requires knowledge of other hazards such as avalanche, rock falls, storm, navigation in wilderness, emergency medical treatments, cooking etc. Definitely one of the most complex types of climbing there is.Parts which make up mountaineering but are a sport of their own now – Trekking, Rock Climbing, Ice Climbing, Mixed Climbing.


        • Rock Mountaineering (Climbing) – Different from rock climbing as a form of competition climbing in the sense that the main objective is to reach the top and not to climb a difficult route. Climbing a peak which only consists of huge rock wall. El Capitan in the Yosemite Valley would be an example of such a peak. The peaks in this category are below the permanent freezing line and smaller in height, and are usually not that inaccessible and remote. Due to these factors a lot of the popular big walls have some form of permanent aid fixed on some routes. However there are still a lot of virgin rock mountains (Not to be confused with Rocky Mountain Ranges) in Countries such as Angola.



    1. Competition Climbing (Not to be confused with sports climbing) 
        • Indoor Climbing – Indoor climbing occurs in buildings on artificial rock structures. This permits for climbing in all types of weather and at all times of the day. Climbers climb indoors to improve their skills and techniques, as well as for general exercise or fun. Another type of Indoor climbing is Sports Climbing, where climbers climb a known route which never changes but the aim is to improve the speed of climbing. Also a type of Olympics sport. (Not to be confused with outdoor sports climbing style, explained later).


        • Ice Climbing – Climbing on ice falls or steep hard snow with the help of Ice Axe (or Ice tool) and crampons.


        • Rock Climbing – Climbing a natural rock wall. Different from the previous Rock Mountaineering in a way that the aim is usually to climb difficult routes and not to reach the top.


        • Dry Tooling (Mixed climbing) – Climbing a rock wall using ice tools and crampons.


        • Bouldering – Climbing a boulder. Similar to rock climbing but the boulders are usually not higher than 15 ft and ropes are not used. Usually done by beginners before they attempt big rocks.


        • Buildering – Climbing artificial structure, such as buildings, etc.





Styles of Mountaineering Expeditions:


    1. Siege Style (Also called Expedition Style) – Expedition style (or “siege” style) refers to mountaineering which involves setting up a fixed line of stocked camps on the mountain which can be accessed at one’s leisure, as opposed to Alpine style where one carries all of one’s food, shelter, equipment etc. as one climbs. Expedition style also incorporates the use of fixed ropes, and climbers (and the porters they frequently employ) will travel up and down the route several times to fix ropes and set up camps. The traditional approach to mountaineering is called Expedition Style, and it’s all about using sheer force and manpower to forge a way up to the mountain’s summit. Also known as ‘siege style’, it uses a series of stocked camps on the mountain and in between these camps are lines of fixed rope, so climbers can move up and down the mountain with greater ease and require a lesser skillset and bank of experience. It involves lots of people, takes a long time, uses a lot of energy and resources, and is generally very hierarchical in nature. For example, whilst you probably know that Mount Everest was first climbed by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Ed Hillary in 1953, what you may not know is that the expedition was led by a British Army Colonel, 7 camps were placed on the mountain, Tenzing and Ed were the second summit team (3 days earlier the first team of British climbers got to within 100m of the top), the total expedition party comprised approximately 400 people, and that the duration of the expedition was about five months.


    1. Alpine Style – The alternative approach, called Alpine Style, is about using speed and finesse to deftly climb the mountain and get back to base camp before the weather moves in. It involves fewer people, takes much less time, uses less energy and resources, and is generally structurally flat. Alpine Style had its origins as a counter-culture movement responding to what its proponents saw as the impure and cumbersome nature of Expedition Style in the 1970’s. Amongst its earliest proponents were a band of British mountaineers led by Chris Bonington who developed the approach in the European Alps and then transferred it to the Himalayas, and Italian climber Reinhold Messner who took the approach to Everest in 1980, summiting the mountain by himself and without bottled oxygen. At its core, Alpine Style is all about people letting go of their innate need to control an environment which is naturally chaotic, uncertain and complex, and instead responding according to the natural ebb and flow of changing conditions. Whilst the last thing you would do when climbing Expedition Style is to give in to the elements, it’s actually the first thing you do when climbing Alpine Style.


Alpine Style Expedition Style
  • Cheaper
  • Faster
  • Requires less logistic and less equipment
  • Requires more physical fitness
  • Requires mental tenacity
  • Can be done solo
  • Can be very uncomfortable, specially the trek to the base camp and the stay
  • Really Expensive.
  • Slow process, even the fastest expeditions takes at least two weeks.
  • Requires logistics, heavy equipment, manpower, porters, mules, insurance, and a lot more things I wouldn’t want to deal with.
  • Is a lot more comfortable approach than the alpinist style, base camps have their own kitchen tent, toilet tents, you can bring a lot more gear to make life better like music players, laptops, solar power charger etc.
  • Better for someone with more money (or sponsorship) and less physical fitness or mental resilience. Since porters and mountain guides (not all mountain guides are Sherpa), set up fixed ropes, ladders to cross crevasse etc., routes become a lot more accessible and a lot safer for someone with less experience to climb for.
  • If something goes wrong, a lot more people can die, because there are a lot more people and a lot of slow moving parts in the whole process.
  • Can’t be done solo.



Styles of Mountain Climbing:

Here we learn about how different types of climbing use different types of aids and protections.

Only Rock Climb – *
Can be attempted Solo – #

    1. Aid Climbing 
        • Fixed Rope – Very rare. Found on Mt Everest during climbing seasons where the mountain guides fixes a permanent rope up to the summit to help untrained climbers fix their harness to and help support themselves on the climb.


        • Aiders # – Aid climbing uses permanent or removable protection that’s placed into the rock to help the climber make upward progress. It’s usually reserved for climbs that are too difficult for the lead climber to complete using only the natural rock surfaces. The climber attaches a ladder made of webbing (called an aider) to a protection piece, then stands or pulls herself up on the ladder, then repeats the process. Aid climbers used to hammer pitons (wedge-shaped pieces of metal) into the rock for protection, which permanently damaged the rock. Today most aid climbers practice “clean aid”, meaning they use removable protection (cams, nuts, etc.) or permanent bolts that are pre-drilled into the rock.



    1. Free Climbing 
        • Roped – Roped free climbing is climbing with a rope attached to a harness to protect against falls. It has three main categories: traditional (or “trad”), sport, and top rope. Top rope climbing involves building an anchor above the climb before climbing it. Trad and sport climbing are forms of lead climbing, where the climber starts at the bottom of the climb and places protection to clip their rope to as they go up. The type of protection used is the main difference between trad and sport climbing.The difference between free roped climbing vs aid climbing is that ropes are only used for protection during a fall and not as a way of ascending.
            • Lead Climbing – A climbing style in which one or more climbers climb attached to each other and the first to climb is the leader, who attaches the protection rope to the surface of the climbing wall.
                • Sports Climbing #* (Not to be confused with the sport of climbing such as in Olympics which uses a top rope style)- Sport Climbing involves clipping your rope into permanent bolts that are drilled into the rock as protection against falling. Sport climbing focuses on climbing move sequences across rock that couldn’t be protected with removable trad gear because of a lack of cracks, holes, etc. in which to place removable (trad) protection. Because the bolts are pre-drilled, sport climbers only need to carry quickdraws (a piece of webbing connecting two carabiners) to attach their rope to the bolts.


                • Traditional Climbing # – In trad climbing the lead climber carries and places all gear necessary to protect against falls. Generally, a following climber then removes the gear once a section of climbing (commonly called a “pitch”) is completed by the lead climber. Before the advent of sport climbing in the 1980’s, pretty much all free climbing was trad climbing. While the gear and ethics have changed over time, the basic premise remains the same: the climber ascends a rock face carrying all their own protective gear. As they climb they place pieces of protection into a crack or hole in the rock. Then they attach a carabiner to the protection piece and then their rope clips through the carabiner. This way, if they were to fall, their last piece of protection would stop them from falling to the ground.If trad climbing is attempted solo, the person climbing will attach an anchor below, climb up, attach another anchor, climb down to remove the first anchor and then continue like this to the top. It’s also called rope solo.



            • Top Rope* – Top Rope climbing involves setting up an anchor at the top of a climb and running the climbing rope through the anchor and back to the ground. A belayer holds one side of the rope and takes up slack as the climber, attached to the other side of the rope, moves upward. The climber can safely let go of the rock at any point and the rope will catch them, assuming the belayer is doing their job properly. A top rope anchor can be built using bolts, trad gear, or even trees and boulders. It’s a safe way for beginners to experience climbing while more advanced climbers might top rope in order to practice a route they want to lead climb. Top roping is very popular at indoor gyms and is a great introduction to roped climbing. Top rope is also the technique used in Sports Climbing such as Olympics.



        • Unroped
            • Free Solo # – During a free solo ascent, a climber uses only their hands (or ice tool in alpine climb) and feet (or crampon in alpine climb) on the climbing surface as protection against falls. Free solo-ers don’t need to attach or carry ropes, and thus have a major speed advantage over other types of climbing.


            • Bouldering #* – Bouldering is unroped free climbing that takes place on rocks and walls that are low to the ground, so that the risk from falls is minimal. Whether practiced outdoors or indoors at a climbing gym, there are usually soft pads called “crash pads” at the base of the climb to protect climbers if they fall. Especially when climbing outdoors, boulderers also have other people (called “spotters”) help guide them onto the crash pads in case of a fall. It’s probably the most popular style of climbing today because of the minimal amount of gear it requires.



There are a lot of other types of terms associated with climbing styles that are either a mix of these forms or a specialized version of them depending on the surface it’s attempted on. My interest has always been in climbing Alpine mountains (Himalayas, or the Antarctica), in alpine style with free solo technique.


PS I am not a professional rock climber and I understand that I may be wrong in some of the information I have given, despite extensive research. If you want to correct something in the post feel free to contact me.

A guide to mountaineering in India – Introduction

India is blessed with the mighty Himalayas, and yet the climbing culture in India has hardly taken off. We sometimes hear the name of a few who dared to take the path not taken, like Arjun Vajpayee etc, but for the average Joe who is somewhat allured by the mountains, the most one can hope for is able to go into high altitude trekking by taking the help of a tourism package online. I am hoping that in this series of blogs I can give you an overview of how to become a mountain climber in India on a budget, like I did.

What is mountaineering and how is it different from trekking?

It’s sad that for many Indians who love mountains don’t know how mountaineering is different from trekking, or how so. Is a mountaineer someone who climbs Everest?

Well trekking is basically walking on a difficult terrain. If you take that off road footpath trail to walk to school, you are trekking to school as well. Mountaineering on the other hand is the act of climbing a mountain, while some mountain are so shallow sided that they can be trekked to the top (also called trekking peak), most peak requires some sort of steep climbing.

Mountaineering on the other hand is the act of climbing a mountain, While getting up the top of a trekking peaks is technically still a mountaineering, it forms the very basic part of it. Mountains are graded in a system of technical difficulty and we will delve into that later. Mountaineering is way more dangerous and extreme than trekking, and for most part you do need to trek to the base of a mountain to climb it, so mountaineering does involve a lot of trekking as well.

Should I become a mountaineer?

Honestly, I am certain that you already know the answer to this. Even as a kid I wanted to climb every hill and every tall rise building I saw, not for the view from top but for the thrill of being there. But just to make things easier, here’s a few checklist:

  • Do you like mountains for something other than the majestic views it provides? Do you like it for the sheer remoteness of the peaks, the isolation of being away from even the smallest settlements in that deserted landscape?
  • Do you like adventures, and something like paragliding with a guide, or going on a trek isn’t cutting it for you?
  • Do you like exploration of nature, and would you be comfortable in the wild away from the comfort of home? Would you enjoy weeks away from people and civilization, without another soul in sight?
  • Are you comfortable at heights, would enjoy the feeling of dangling from a rock at hundreds of feet in the air rather than being terrified of it?
  • Does the thought of extreme weather excites you?
  • Are you comfortable with the thought that mountaineering is dangerous and could potentially kill you, without welcoming that death and doing everything in your power to avoid it?

If the answer to all of the above is yes, then great, you may read further ahead.

So how can I become a mountaineer?

Join a mountaineering institute. If you have the time and money (mostly time, because the courses aren’t that expensive), go to HMI or other institute in India and get enrolled in their program. Graduate from Basic and Advance courses and you will be prepared enough to take on a few peaks, the rest will always depend on your experience.

However for the most of us whose parents aren’t that supportive of our passion, by the time we can afford to join such institute we are into our 20s and are working at a minimum wage paying job to support our travel. Vanishing away for months to join a mountaineering course might not be possible, as it wasn’t for me. This is where this blog comes handy. But if you can, please do join an institute.

Is mountaineering expensive?

Oh the dreaded question of money. Well yes, and no! Its definitely not expensive to start your journey into mountaineering, but you should be well able to at least have some money and a way to travel to the Himalayan mountains in India.

You don’t need specialized boots and specialized equipment to go climbing, at least not in the beginning. A trekking pole does have added benefits of being foldable and light, but a stick will do the same basic work for free. Remember a breathable waterproof jacket made out of Gore-Tex will definitely make your life easier but if you have the mental tenacity to live with the discomforts of wrapping a tarp around you in rain, and are willing to sacrifice that comfort for the chance of being outside and having an adventure, you will be able to do a lot of things quite cheap. Of course very high altitude peaks and ones with very technical routes will require specialized equipment but that’s not something one does in the beginning.

What can you expect in this series of blogs?

I will be going in details of some of the basic hurdles of getting into mountaineering and how to overcome those, and mountaineering basic and advance techniques of using tools and equipment and giving survival guides and sharing video links from YouTube and other media which have helped me in the past to stay alive and enjoy the wilderness.

I will cover –

  • How to save money travelling and buying equipment, getting the best things for the money you spend.
  • Where to buy equipment from
  • How to choose a trail for trekking/ a peak to climb for beginners
  • Physical preparation
  • Mental preparation
  • Clothing and equipment in a budget and how to upgrade them over time with the innate understanding of their function
  • Camping and food
  • Navigation, using online maps, topo maps and finding new trails and routes unexplored by people before.
  • Wilderness safety including how to avoid animal attacks, and find game trail (paths used by animals for walking) for safe trekking etc
  • Understanding climbing tools of all kinds.
  • Climbing techniques such as belaying, rappelling, lead climbing, aid climbing, and free climbing.
  • Trekking techniques such as glacial travel, crossing crevasse
  • Mixed climbing techniques like climbing ice fall and dry tooling on exposed rock walls.
  • Expedition climbing/alpine climbing
  • Protection gear and first aid
  • Emergency and rescue
  • Basics of hunting, gathering food and finding water.
  • The ethics of LEAVE NO TRACE as a conservation of the ecosystem and waste management in the mountains.

See you next time.

[DEPRECATED] Automatic wallpaper downloader with WSL

Please note, that unsplash has made an app that let users download wallpapers directly off of their website. So this tutorial isn’t really useful any more unless you don’t want to install the app. 

I started using bash on windows (WSL) on my windows 10 PC, a while ago, but so far hasn’t found any real use for it in my work scenario, but that changed when I got the idea to write a script that downloads wallpapers from a remote site to my computer every 2 hours (an interval that I chose). It uses linux and windows together to achieve its goal, and its just beautiful what Microsoft did by adding Ubuntu to run natively on Windows 10.

Let me introduce a website with gorgeous photographs that serves as an amazing source of wallpapers, www.unsplash.com. Now what’s so amazing about this website? Well at source.unsplash.com you can get a get a single link to download different photographs every time you load it, and that is essential to creating a periodic downloader for wallpapers for your PC.

Let’s get started, shall we!

  1. Create a folder anywhere you want your wallpapers to be downloaded to. (Mine was a folder called wallpaper in the picture library). All the script files will be saved in this folder.
  2. [OPTIONAL] Go to https://source.unsplash.com/ and get the link that suits your need the best. You can get a link that downloads wallpaper for your screen resolution, or with different categories etc.
  3. Open notepad, or your favorite text editor
  4. Copy and paste the following code in there (if you have your own unique link for wallpapers, replace the link in the code with your own link)
    @echo off
    bash -c "wget -O "download.jpg" "https://source.unsplash.com/category/nature/1920x1080?""
    set /p name=<filevar.txt
    echo %name%
    ren download.jpg wallpaper_%name%.jpg
    set /A name+=1
    >filevar.txt echo %name%
  5. Save it as download.bat (Make sure you select “All files” in Save type as, when saving the file)
  6. Close this notepad and open a new one, and copy and paste the following code in there (this script makes the bat file run without opening a command prompt console window):
    Set oShell = CreateObject ("Wscript.Shell")
    Dim strArgs
    strArgs = "cmd /c download.bat"
    oShell.Run strArgs, 0, false
  7. Save it as run.vbs
  8. Open another notepad and type 1 in there and save as filevar.txt

  9. [OPTIONAL] Test the script by double clicking the run.vbs file. You won’t see anything pop up, but a photo will be downloaded as download.jpg in the folder, if you are connected to the internet, and renamed to wallpaper1.jpg
  10. Open Task Scheduler (If you don’t know how, press WindowsKey+R and then enter this without quotes “%SystemRoot%\system32\taskschd.msc” and hit enter)
  11. Create a new task
  12. In the general tab, set configure for: Windows 10
  13. In Trigger tab, add new and on Begin the task: At log oncheck Delay task for: 30 Minutes (so that it doesn’t start with boot and increase the boot time), check repeat task and enter your time interval at which you want the wallpapers to be downloaded. I have mine set at 2 hours for a duration of indefinitely. Then made sure Enabled is checked and hit okay.
  14. In the Actions tab, create new and set Action to Start a program. 
  15. In the Program/Script write %systemroot%\system32\wscript.exe or C:\Windows\System32\wscript.exe if you have windows installed in C drive and in the add arguments write //Nologo and then put a space and then the path to your run.vbs file. (To get the path of your run.vbs file, hold shift on your keyboard and right click on it. Then click copy as path from the context menu.) And in the start in, put the path to your folder where you are downloading the wallpapers. (You can simply paste the path of run.vbs and then remove the \run.vbs and the quotes from the box.)
  16. [OPTIONAL] In condition tab, uncheck Start the task only if the computer is on AC power. 
  17. In the settings tab, Check Allow task to be run on demandCheck Stop the task if it runs longer than and input a value of 2 minutes if you have relatively fast internet or 10 minutes if you have a slow one. And in the drop down box, select stop the existing instance. Press okay and you are done.

Ta-da now you have an automatic wallpaper downloader set to run in the background, all you have to do now is set that folder as your windows wallpaper slideshow folder, from the personalize setting.

Have a great day!

[3ds Max] Customizing Autodesk 3ds Max with new icons and colors

One day as I was going through my daily routine of modelling and animating stuff inside 3ds Max, it dawned on me, how boring the interface the looks. And I have always been a freak about customizing UI of the software I use. From making themes for my phone to making custom icon for Windows PC.

I created custom Icons for Max, changed the colors, added new keyboard shortcuts etc to give it a brand new look.

Here are some of the screenshots

Splash Screen

If you like the theme and want it for yourself, follow these instructions:

Warning: For 3ds max 2017 SP2

  1.  Download my files and extract using 7zip or winrar
  2. For splash screen
    • Copy the dll file to your max installation folder (usually at %programfiles%\Autodesk\3ds max 2017).
    • Optional backup: rename 3dsmax.branding.dll to 3dsmax.branding.old.dll
    •  Replace upon prompt when copying.
    •  Enjoy the beautiful splash screen next time you open it.
  3. For UI Icons
    •  Copy the three folders, Command Panel, MainToolbar and SnapsControls to C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2017\UI_ln\Icons\Dark (if you have max installed in the current location)
    • . Restart 3dsmax
  4. For UI Colors and Enhanced Menu
    • Copy the contents of the folder “For new UI” (not the folder itself) to C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2017\en-US\UI
    • Replace Files (Backup first)
    • Restart Max.

[AHK] [WSL] MD5 hash of a selected file with a key press

INFO: Script Requires Bash on Windows 10, also known as windows subsystem on linux (WSL).

If you use Autohotkey to make your own macros and do super awesome stuff with the push of a key, like I do, you may find this useful, specially if you download from the internet a lot, or transfer files over wireless network. You may need to compare the MD5 hash of files to check the integrity of transfer. Here is a quick code I wrote in Autohotkey script to get the MD5 hash of a file that you have selected in windows explorer.

Without further adieu, let me show the script to you.


;Get MD5SUM using WSL of selected file

var1 := % Explorer_GetSelection() ;stores the file path

Explorer_GetSelection(hwnd=””) { ;Script to get the path of the selected file >>>> START <<<<

    hwnd := hwnd ? hwnd : WinExist(“A”)

    WinGetClass classahk_id %hwnd%

    if (class=“CabinetWClass” or class=“ExploreWClass” or class=“Progman”)

        for window in ComObjCreate(“Shell.Application”).Windows

            if (window.hwnd==hwnd)

    sel := window.Document.SelectedItems

    for item in sel

    ToReturn .= item.path “`n”

    return Trim(ToReturn,“`n”)

;Script to get the path of the selected file >>>> END <<<<

StringReplace, var2, var1, \, /, all ;Replace \ with /

StringReplace, var3, var2, :, , all  ;Remove the colon from the address

RegExMatch(var3, “^[A-Z]”, Var4) ;Storing Drive letter to another variable

StringLower, Var4, Var4 ;changing drive letter to lowercase

StringTrimLeft, VarString1, Var3, 1 ;Removing the capital drive letter from the path

VarStringFinal = /mnt/%Var4%%VarString1% ;Joining together all the part of the path to be converted to a linux path

code =

(@echo off

bash -c “md5sum ‘%VarStringFinal%'”


run %comspec% /k %code%


The script is pretty self explanatory with the comments making it easier to understand. I have the Macro assigned to backspace key on a separate keyboard but you can assign it to any key you want. How I assigned it to a separate keyboard is a post for another day.

Why so many variables you may ask, because you need to change the file path to linux’s file path in WSL for the md5sum to work. Let’s say you have a file called file.txt in C drive, you will need it to be /mnt/c/file.txt in WSL. I used a lot of variables and I am sure a professional coder can make it much shorter.

This is how the end result looks like, see the selected file in the file explorer in the background.

In the end what you have is basically a bash script running inside a batch script running inside an autohotkey script. Scriptception!!

[3ds Max] Recover your work from animation error after skinning

Hello everyone! I ran into a problem the other day with exporting a mesh that I had skinned in 3ds Max. I hand painted the vertex weight and animated it, only to find errors during export. I was in a bad state at that point as it had taken me hours of work to hand paint the vertex weights during skinning process and I was in no mood to  have to go through it all, just because I missed to reset xform on the mesh and scaled the bones a bit to fit the mesh.

I was frantically searching for a solution on the web to no avail until I saw a tool called skin utlities. It hardly had a lot of documentation work for it but it was a life saver, and got my project working with just a few simple clicks.

So I decided to make a tutorial for anyone who might be in a fix as I was and looking for a solution. I realise I sound a  bit weird after listening to it and that it might be somewhat hard for people to understand what I am saying but the tutorial is pretty clear with whats going on in the screen so it all should be fine.And like an irresponsible child, I am going to put the blame for this on a severe toothache I was suffering from at the moment.

Here’s the video, take a look:

Hardware color calibrate your monitor without a colorimeter

So why do you need color calibration? Ever bought a monitor and the color seems a bit off? All monitor which aren’t factory calibrated will have a slight variation of color from real world colors, so white may appear as greenish or reddish, some colors may be washed out or darkened etc. If you are a photo editor who must produce color accurate results, you are recommended to get a colorimeter. They are specialised hardware which color calibrates your monitor. You can buy one from Amazon or maybe you can ask one of your local photo studio to rent it for a while. 

However if you are a gamer, and animator like me and you just wanna see the colors as they were supposed to be without the need to be 100% accurate, you can save some money and try your hand at this method instead.

Before you proceed with this, let me tell you that it still may not be 100% accurate but at least it will be better than most software solutions out there, if you wanna save a few bucks. Software solutions are limited by perception of your eye, this method isn’t.

Stuff you will need:

  1. A software which can pick color from an image’s pixel and display it’s RGB and LAB color value.
    Photoshop can do that. You can download photoshop’s trial.
  2. A good quality camera. A DSLR works best, but any camera which can shoot color accurate photos will do. Your budget smartphone camera won’t work.
  3. A lamp with white LED.
  4. A white thin paper to diffuse the LED lamp. You can read this article for a complete guide on how to diffuse light using household object.
  5. Basic knowledge of Photoshop.

Here are the steps:

  1. Let’s start by creating a diffused white light solution using a paper (or a white tshirt) and a white LED lamp. Place the lamp parallel to and beside your monitor, and point it in the same direction of your screen. 
  2. Open photoshop, create a new document with white as the background color. 
  3. Make the document full screen and zoom in so that the whole white covers the screen. 
  4. With the on screen control of your monitor, increase the brightness to the max. 
  5. Switch on your camera, go to setting, turn down your ISO to the lowest value, make sure hue/tone is set to auto (or neutral), and EV is set to 0. 
  6. Turn off all the lights in the room, if you have backlit keyboard, RGB mouse, etc cover it with something. 
  7. Point at the screen so that your lens is at the center, and now go back so that the lamp is in the frame too. (We added the lamp as a guide for the camera to not adjust to the tint of the monitor and display the color accurately. Some camera might adjust the to the light and change its own settings to make it appear white).

    I used my second monitor (not calibrated) as a reference instead of the lamp

  8. Click a few pictures (we will pick the best one out later) 
  9. Transfer these photos to your pc. 
  10. Drag and drop the best looking image to your photoshop document (you can turn off full screen now). 
  11. Pick your foreground color, from the center of the screen.


  12. Take a note of the values.
  13. Reverse the sign of the a and b values of the LAB color. (Like in the picture above, -1 will turn to 1, and 8 will turn to -8).
  14. Now write down the values of the RGB color values.
  15. You need to do some basic math now to get the value your of your monitor’s color correction settings. First step would be to look at the default values of the RGB setting of your monitor’s on screen control. Some companies like BenQ have their values at 100 while other like Samsung have that at 50.
  16. Use this formula for each other the red, green and blue (RGB) to get the values your monitor needs to be set at
    Color value of monitor = (color value of Photoshop/255) X default value of monitor’s color
    Something like
    R = 184/255*50
    for a samsung monitor displaying the values of the picture above.
  17. Enter these values on your monitor’s setting. (NOTE: While doing this, you may feel like the color on your screen isn’t what it should be. Change the values anyway. This is likely the effect of your eyes adapting to the tint of the monitor that was present before. Now go away from your monitor for a while, about 20-30minutes and don’t look at any digital screen in the meantime. When you come back, your screen will look natural)
  18. Now open your windows inbuilt calibration tool to set your gamma, brightness and contrast and you are good to go. You can open it by searching for Calibrate display color. 
    Note: click next on the page where it display sliders to correct color, without touching the sliders itself.

Road Trip to Mukutmanipur

We took a trip to Mukutmanipur, in the state of Bengal, India and by the seven Gods, it was by far the best place I have driven to, in  my life. It’s absolutely mesmerizing, this place and a driver’s heaven. A partially restricted road (in the sense that you have to take permission to drive on it and you are allotted a fixed amount of time to stay on) stretches to 3 kms or maybe more, and is absolutely empty save for a few bicycles or motorbikes here and there. I topped out my engines on that road.

Where does it end?

We started pretty early in the day (or shall i say night) at 2 AM. Taking a friend with me who lives in the neighborhood and from there we went to pick up a friend who lives about 17 kms away. It was 15th of February and we were trying to have some fun after the sullen mood of being single on valentine’s day.

The weather was pleasant that night, with cool winds blowing at our faces. We took a break from the drive to drink tea on the Belgharia expressway (part of the Asian Highway – 1) while on the way to Sam’s house. Starting from there I realised we were running low on fuel. We planned to refill on the way, but as fate would have it, all the gas stations were closed. When I picked up Sam, the fuel gauge needle was almost touching the Empty scale. We opened google map to check for any nearby gas station but none of them were open at the time. We did find an open one on the map, good thing, it was on our way, but the bad thing, it was almost 30kms away. That meant, I had to drive at a sweet pace so as to conserve fuel as much as possible. Fortunately a few days earlier, I had watched a video where they showed that a car engine is most fuel efficient when running at 40-60 kmps, and that’s the route I took. In the end we did manage to reach the gas station and filled the tank to the brim.

At around 6 am, we stopped for breakfast. By this time, the distant landscape on the side of the road was covered in a thin blanket of fog and it was 10 degrees outside with a chilling wind blowing. We sat down for a cup of tea and since the shop owners hadn’t made anything yet, we ate some leftover fries from last night, it was not the best thing I have tasted but it was enough for us hungry souls.

When we started from there, in fifteen minute or so, some gunk started appearing on my windshield. It took me a while to recognize that it was bug splatter. But i continued on thinking the wiper will take care of it. And I have never been so wrong before, apparently we were crossing a horde of migrating bugs if you can call it that and it hit us bad. In a matter of seconds, there were thousands of bugs on my windscreen reducing visibility to almost nil. I parked my car on the side of the road and got out to clean it with water and a towel. I wasn’t ready for what sight beheld itself. The whole front of my car, and anything that faced forward was smeared in green layer of bug carcass and it was stinking of death, literally. I braved myself to clean it all up, using up to two towels in the process and a big bottle of water we had bought to drink on the way. However that was the last of the bug.

Not my car but it did look similar.

The rest of the journey was very pleasant, with Sam’s joke making us laugh every minute of it. The road became empty as we approached a forest, called the elephant corridor. My friends say they saw an elephant deep in the forest but I don’t believe them.

We reached our destination at around 11am. There was a short bridge over an abandoned dam which connected two banks of the Kansabati river. Near the bank of it, was a park under construction. We were quite disappointed at what we saw. There was nothing to do other than stare at an almost dry river with a rocky bank. If only there was a way to climb down on those rocks. Near the park there was an unpaved path, I decided to follow it and see where it led to. We walked for what seemed like an eternity, and it was beautiful to look at as we progressed further. The path was cut out in between a hill with both sides towering above us and covered in thick cobwebs. A canopy of green trees played hide and seek with the sun as we walked by until we reached an abrupt end what seemed like a cliff. But as Sam pointed out, we could climb down to the rocks from there. Any sane person at that point would have just turned back and walked to the car, but we are not exactly sane. We climbed down an almost vertical wall of rocks all the while thinking how difficult it will be to climb back up, onto a bed of sharp uneven ground of eroded bare rocks, sticking out in a diagonal way. It was tough to even stand properly on those ground let alone walk and the thorny vegetation poking out from the ground hindered us from using all four to navigate. However we did manage to walk around with difficulty and it was absolutely amazing to just sit on the rocks and enjoy the cool wind. Here are some pics.

The path we took with trees towering above us
Other side of the bank
Sam running around in his flip flops. It’s crazy to think of!
Trying to get that perfect shot while trying not to fall to my death
Was it candid? Probably not!

We drove further from there, after resting a bit and washing ourselves, only to have to come back to take permission to be able to continue to do so. It took us around quarter of an hour to get the permission and we were on our way to one of the most beautiful places I have ever driven on.

That mirage at the end

Driving on, the ground to our left started giving way to a lake with water meeting the sky in the horizon.

An unending lake on one side of the road

We stopped for a while to enjoy the beauty of the crystal clear lake water. We wanted to take a bath but weren’t prepared with towels or anything of that sort. Maybe next time!

Slowly being eaten by water
Sometimes you just need to open your shoes and wash your feet in a cold lake
Photo of the lake taken from a small park by the side of the road for its elevated position

There was a small park nearby, a little elevated ground, turned into a place to sit and relax (unfortunately it never occurred to us to take a photo of it). I climbed on top to take these beautiful shots of the road stretching to and along the horizon along the bank of an unending lake.

The wider shot
Hills on the other side
A snap of the other side of the road

By the time we were done here, it was 4 pm and we were hungry as it gets. We filled our empty stomach with loads of rice and fish in a local dhaba and was on our way home.

All photos are taken by Google Pixel™
Edited by Disha Shur

The Bridge

I come here often. The rusted and decaying mass of metal that once was a bridge, connecting the two separated land, gives me a sense of comfort and serenity. The drowning sun was covered with a blanket of gray cloud. I stood on the edge with a cigarette in hand that once in a while touched my lips. The smoke traced its path in the rain that was reduced to a sprinkle, disappearing in the strong wind.

I looked down, the current was strong. The darkness of the dusk combined with the height made it nothing short of an abyss. As the rain continued to form wet layers against my face, my peripheral vision saw a dark figure approaching me. The drug abuse over the year has made me to hallucinate at times. I tend to ignore these ghostly images but as it neared me, I saw it was a girl. She didn’t see me probably because it was dark though she seemed lost of her surroundings. She walked as in a delirium and came to stop at the edge not far from me. I slowly approached her, out of fear, for both me and her. She was almost my age; slender and tall. It’s when she took notice of me. Her eyes were blue and mesmerizing yet the ocean seemed to be overflowing with grief. The face beautiful as the wind veiled it with her curls. It took her a while to take notice of me and when it sunk to her that I was another human, she hurriedly tried to climb the ledge all the time looking at me with a deep hatred in her eyes. I knew what she was trying to do. I said softly, “I won’t stop you” as I took in the killer smoke.

She eased a bit, a faint smile crossed her lips and those blue eyes locked my gaze. She mouthed “thank you” and plunged into the black water below. The now howling wind masked the sound of the ending fall.

I knew that she deserved to die in peace. I don’t go on that bridge now. The unknown sorrow of the unnamed girl haunts me there. That is no more the place of my peace.