I was threatened 🙀


AWESOME photos! Even more awesome is thinking about what it must be like watching those scenes evolve through the day and night, perhaps with a beverage in hand.

If you pass by SE Wisconsin, let me know and you and Rio can have some time out of the RV.


Altitude and colds are not fun, especially when you were born and raised at sea-level. It makes for an unhappy dog is what it really does… and what’s the saying? If the dog ain’t happy… ain’t nobody happy?

This morning I received an email from one of my retailers asking for more puzzles and she opened with, hope you’re enjoying your travels! That made me stop for a second… the being sick was a drag (seriously - I had a cold… the women that have given birth out there pretty much know what I felt like) but:

It made me stop to realize just how awesome it is that I’m able to wake up at (currently) 7300’ in the Monzano Mountains, and make something that people want, to be able to do this.

That I can walk out the front door and explore miles and miles of trail with Rio.

And that I can drive just 15 minutes down the road and see something as awesome as the Quarai Ruins.

And that was just today…

Sorry, crappy cell shot… but we are up there somewhere, about halfway up.

Another junk cell shot… but so nice to feel somewhat better and be able to do 3-4 miles of trails a day. Rio is definitely happy about it.

And the awesome ruins down the road.


I love your posts so much…the photos…the stories. Since I can’t be doing that, I’m glad you’re out there doing a bang-up reporting job. Thank you, JB!


Did you see this? With a bit of playing around your puzzles could be relief sculptures of the stuff you are seeing as well. So many amazing places you could document in full 3D even if that was all you did with them.

BTW places like those ruins or pictograph rocks was just what I was thinking about, that one with the amazing sky was just stunning.


I did! And I had the thought also. It would be really neat on certain images.

I did this a while back:

I used crazybump, which is nowhere near as accurate as what you posted above but turned out well enough as a proof of concept. I actually have an artist lined up to paint the 3D engraved puzzles.

I was also thinking about it on one of the hikes today. One of the trees up here is a species of juniper called an Alligator Juniper, with a very alligator-like appearance to its bark.

(Wikipedia image)


Yes, I recall being blown away by that at the time, but with Meshroom and a lot more photos, it could be that whole Quarai Ruins. I just got an M3D Promega color 3D printer that is not even out of the box as yet so the learning mountain will take some time but I could see building it for a display. Even those walls would accomplish what Crazybump could only guess at and engrave the walls of a box 1/4 inch deep of 3/8 wood and be pretty durn real.


Thank you for starting my week with beautiful thoughts and pictures. I must educate myself about the Quaria Ruins.


yeah, it’s easy to focus on the negative (cold) and forget about all the positives you have in life. It’s just the human condition I guess.


Condition. Conditioning.

I think it’s largely conditioning.

There are certain places that people would just kill to live. The Hill Country, there in Texas where I was before, is one of those places. And there are so many others… but the people that live there are just used to it. It’s an every day thing for them, so that shine that lights up other people’s eyes, tends to fade in your own.


Amazing photos and journey! Rio is a great companion. Thank you for your continued postings, inspiration to all…


I have no idea what I’m doing… Blender is a tough one for me (always has been every time I’ve tried to use it…)

But, I went out and took 30 quick images of an interesting Alligator Juniper during one of our walks today.

I used a trial version of Agisoft Photoscan (I didn’t want to mess with booting into Windows or trying to get Meshroom loaded on Mac).

The results of that were pretty incredible…

Here is a similar angle from an iphone image:

I have it in Blender, but fixing to start entirely over on that process… Blender pretty much reminds me of the whole Inkscape interface (which I can’t stand).


I’m starting to really get Inkscape. I’ll never figure out why the authors decided to do some of the things they have done but it is like latin and we have a full Latin to English dictionary, Blender is more like Sanskrit and we have a rosetta stone the size of a fist. :crazy_face: Good luck!


In the Video he is talking a new version of Blender out from 2.7x to 2.8x and how much easier the new version is. If they keep with tradition the change from 2.5x to 2.6x was so great some folk forked it but the new user friendliness went way up, And again with 2.7x there was fair increase in new user friendliness. I started with 2.5x so I am anticipating a bit of relearning with 2,8x for myself but a good opportunity to jump in for those who have not yet done so.

I understand why Blender nodes exist and as a concept they are way more flexible than 3D Max’s stack but as such a bit harder to get one’s head around, but the old methods are still there as well.


That is a great start! Once you have a simple Blend texture going from black to white you can just drop in any mesh and shoot the image and not spend a lot of time to get an engravable height map, though a salable model on Sketchfab would take more work. The uniqueness of what is available to you for material and your eye for it would be a huge advantage I think. :heart_eyes:


So, I can actually export a depth map (as well as normal and diffusion maps) straight from the Agisoft Metashape (PhotoScan, whatever it’s called) software. To avoid having to use Blender, it might be worth the $180 lol.

It does have its limitations in that the depth maps are associated with individual images that the mesh is built out of, so you’d have to make sure that you shoot the actual image that you want to use.

You can’t really modify the depth itself, that I know, as it’s pretty much baked in - but you can just do a simple levels adjustment to expand that variation.

While the full 360-experience is very, very cool, I wanted to see what I could do with fewer images.

So here is a cairn on one of the trails around here. Composed of 5 images (about 90 degrees rotation around the pile, I guess)

And the resulting depth map (I think I can export this out as a high bit TIFF and get smoother results)


Blender can do all sorts of modification and cleaning up, deleting excess floating bits, even Booleans, but if Blender is too scary and Meshroom not on Mac (Macroom?) and others extra money there is also MeshLab that is also free and works on Mac. It is sort of Blender maimed that it only builds 3d scans and I don’t see the depth map but I suspect I have just not found it.


I actually have meshlab and was using that as well before I realized I could export the depth maps from Metashape.

Meshlab has a history here and has been discussed a fair amount. @takitus used it. It’s really easy to generate depth maps in the program, but really finicky with doing them in the orthographic view. I messed around with it for a while but it’s mostly just frustrating.

I can definitely clean it up in Metashape (I was just lazy on the floating bits and going for proof of concept). Trying to engrave one now but my throttled internet here is horrendous.




I was worried about making it down the 25-30% grade tomorrow as I leave Manzano State Park. It’s just a dirt road up here, and slick as snot when it’s muddy.

Weatherman changed his forecast from 40% chance of snow to 0%. Sweet. That worry behind me, I washed up all the dishes, and decided to do dinner out (those small town cafes!).

No pictures of dinner. That’s what Instagram is for, right?

Headed back - still daylight, hallelujah!!! - and was catching glimpses of such an amazing sky in the distance towards camp. Hopped off onto a dirt road that didn’t look private, took a few turns, going a little faster than I probably should to catch the light and a view.

Something about weather. I love photographing weather… I really oughta go storm chase the Midwest spring, but the whole tornado alley, accompanying hail, and an RV don’t mix so well (trust me, I’m tempted…) the colors were vibrant (actually desaturated them a few % here), the light from the setting sun hitting the sides of the stratocumulus clouds, leaving the far side dark… but the real bonus treat were the clouds down below the peaks of the Manzano Mountains hovering just above the cold ground.

Managed to find my way back to Highway 55 to discover what 0% chance of snow in New Mexico apparently means…

Not 100% sure where I’m headed in the mornin’ - could be wherever we slide down the hill and end up… or a hair east to warm up a bit.


NEVER trust a weatherman. (woman) :smile: