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Posts tagged ‘black and white’

Tuesday’s Bits and Bobs: The Magazine is Here

It has been a very stressful time the last few days. I have been sick, and trying to get my website ready for the launch of Dynamic Range. I have spent the last three days trying to get the e-commerce part of my website working. OMG, it doesn’t if they say it is easy, believe me, it isn’t abd wasn’t. I went through about 5 different ones until one of them finally took me by the hand to go through it. It is all up and running now.

Dynamic Range – Get Your Copy Now

We have seven articles for you, and I would like to this opportunity to thank all the contributors, Stacey, Mel, Chris, Loré, Sharon and Emily for their brilliant articles. They had faith in the magazine and wrote for it. Great quality as well and I’ve really enjoyed reading what they’ve written.

I would also like to thank another Chris for helping with the editing and my daughter Klara. She wants to be an editor so it was good for her to get some experience. Her lack of photography knowledge could be a problem at times, but I think she is going to learn.

I would also like to thank Julie for all her work putting the magazine together. Julie came up with the logo and has worked hard putting all the articles together. She has had to put up with me telling her what to, but she handled it well.

It is available to buy and we are selling it for $5. Here is the link to purchase it if you want to read it, Dynamic Range or click on the image below.

Dynamic Range_Aug15-1The cover again and you can see all the articles that are in it, a great range I think. I think there is something there for everyone. It is going to be great to see how it evolves over the coming months.

You can only purchase it with Paypal, but  you don’t need a Paypal account and can just do it with a credit card, there should be a thing at the bottom that will explain that.

There is also a new Facebook page for the magazine as well, Dynamic Range.

Here are some photos that from articles from the magazine. There is also a chance to win a camera bag thanks to Lowepro.

Introductions: Clyde Butcher

Last week as I was driving around country Victoria with a friend she asked me if I knew Clyde Butcher and I had to admit that I hadn’t, but I certainly do now. I got this from Clyde’s website, I think it describes him quite well: ‘Like fast-action drama in still life, the majestic beauty, boldness and depth of Clyde Butcher’s photographs, which have earned him recognition as the foremost landscape photographic artist in America today, will make your heart beat faster.’


I really like his work and I’m really looking forward to studying it closely. I do like how on his website he has descriptions of the photos, so I am going to share some of those for a few photos.

Mangroves are special plants, because without them we would have no fish. Yet people do not respect them. I remember when Florida’s late Governor Lawton Chiles said he was afraid that if we didn’t pass a law to save the mangroves, the state would look like a giant bathtub because all the mangroves would be replaced by concrete sea walls.


My friend described his work as having big skies, and I think she was right. There are many photos with some really amazing skies. You will see more here and on his website.

As an Artist in Residence at the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast we spent the week photographing many wonderful locations. On this morning, Clyde and I woke up early and looked out the window to see what the weather was like. We could see a beautiful pink sunrise filled with large bulbous clouds hanging over Casey Key Island. We grabbed the camera gear and headed to the island. By the time we got to the island the light was perfect for photography. Clyde was able to capture this image before the cloud covered the sun.


His work reminds me so much of Ansel Adams, the colour stripped away and we are left with nothing but the bare bones and beauty of the landscape before us.

My favorite period of art is the Hudson Bay period. I love the paintings from that era showing the romantic beauty of the earth. I have always wanted to photograph along the Hudson, but when I tried to find a place to shoot all I could find was man-made scenery. When I told the Columbia Land Conservancy Trust in Chatham New York about my dilemma, they helped me to find the natural landscape in the area. Thanks to them I was able to photograph this beautiful little waterfall.


This image was a little different to most of the others that he has taken, read why.

This image is very different than my normal style of photography. Niki loves to photograph plants and was playing around photographing this plant when she decided they were just to wonderful for a small digital camera. She came and got me, requesting that I photograph them with my large format camera so that she could see all the detail when the image gets enlarged to a giant size. She says, “…so, because Clyde loves me, he took this photograph for me.”  Yes, that is true and it wasn’t easy! It was dusky, so my exposure was ten minutes. In a large format camera everything is upside down and backwards, which makes it hard to make good compositions. However, when the image is an abstract, it’s even harder. I really didn’t think I managed to capture it due to all of the technical problems.  However, I like it so well I might just do a few more close up images down the road!


It is lovely to see how he uses light as well, something I think a lot of us can learn from.

We were only at the Badlands for 24 hours, but WOW, what a wondrous time it was! A violent storm, complete with tornadoes, ripped through the area. I photographed like mad trying to capture the sun hitting the landscape as it popped in and out of the dark storm clouds. By the end of the day, the sky was totally black with no sun. The next morning I woke up at our normal 4:00am and looked out the window to see that there wasn’t a star or even a glimmer of light on the horizon. Thinking the sun was going to be blocked out by the clouds, I went back to bed. I lay there for a few minutes and changed my mind. As we drove out of the parking lot the sun began to break through a slit in the clouds. In front of me was this wonderful formation with dark storm clouds behind it and the sun starting the process of brilliantly lighting up the mountains in the foreground. Niki and I jumped out of the car and set up the camera as quickly as we could. We managed to capture the scene just before the clouds covered up the sun.

I couldn’t interview Clyde, but his website does have a lot great information on it. I found this attached to every image.

Hand Printed by Clyde in his Darkroom
Recognized both nationally and internationally, Clyde is regarded as Florida’s finest landscape photographer. He has been reserving the untouched areas of the landscape on film for more than fifty years.  His images are created using 5×7″, 8×10″, or 11×14″ large format view cameras.  He hand-processes his photogrpahs in his on darkroom on silver gleatin fiber-base paper in a limited edition.  The photogrpahs are selenium toned, then mounted and matted to current archival standards.

I would invite you all to go and take a look at this website, Clyde Butcher and see for yourself how wonderful his images are. I would also like to thank Clyde for giving me permission to feature his work and introduce him to you.  I am going leave you with a gallery now.

Influencing Me: Joel Tjintjelaar

If you love architectural photography then you will, I’m sure, know about Joel Tjintjelaar.  He is like a guru when it comes to architecture and long exposures. I know many of you already know his work and those that don’t will fall in love in love with it.  His work is something I aspire to be able to do and I plan work thinking of how he executes it. Shame he is in another country to me.


There is a rawness to his images, they are devoid of distractions. When you look at his work there are lessons to be learned on what you should include and what you shouldn’t include.


The work is about shape and form, and you look at the structure of the building. It is like an architects vision of what they thought the building would look like.


His work is predominantly black and white. It strips away more of the distractions. It helps make the buildings beautiful, but also very simple, if that is the right way of putting it.


Though I was also surprised to see that there are some colour photos. Actually one really, this was the only one I found, but still the image has the colour, but not much. It has been stripped of most and is just the bare essential colours.


His long exposures are also worth looking at. For someone who is experimenting with this process myself his work really is inspirational. Of course the water ones are, but so are the architectural ones.

Minimalism at its best really.  It is something I think many of us can learn as we compose our images and work out what to leave in and what to leave out.

Joel did give me permission to show you his work and I had to make sure that you knew that the work was his. I can’t find a website but he is on Google+, Facebook, and Flickr. I would also like thank Joel for allowing me to show his work to you.

Website: BW/Vision

I have a gallery with more of his images now.  Click on an image to get a larger image. I know you will enjoy them.

UfD: Workshop Lessons

Today for our Up for Discussion post Susan Portnoy from The Insatiable Traveler recently attended a photography workshop and she has written for us what she learned at the workshop. There are some great lessons here and I think we could learn a lot from this.  

Five Essential Lessons (and One Great Tip) I learned about Photography at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops


As a photographer always looking to hone my skills, I recently went on a unique adventure as the guest of the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops in New Mexico. I’d heard about the globally renowned workshops for years (the workshops are year round and boast an amazing roster of instructors) from photographers who were students and others who had the honor of being asked to teach.

The Santa Maria building where I stayed and where breakfast and lunch was served

The Santa Maria building where I stayed and where breakfast and lunch was served

The Santa Maria building where I stayed and where breakfast and lunch was served
The trip was a great learning experience and completely out of my comfort zone but exactly the kind of push I needed to up my game. When I told Leanne about my visit she thought you might be interested in reading about what I learned. And while it’s all a work in progress, here goes… ~ Susan Portnoy

When you first arrive at the Workshops, Reid Callanan, the company’s founder, will tell you that no matter what course you take the week is not about creating masterpieces, it’s about learning new approaches to photography, opening your mind and eye to fresh ideas and challenging your skills. It was all that and more.

My instructor was fine art photographer and Sam Abell disciple, Brett Erickson. The workshop: “Visions of the American West.

My fellow students and I (nine of us in total), quickly learned that for Brett, “visions” was the operative word. The American West was a backdrop, a muse for our creativity efforts, and we would explore these visions through black and white photography.

When our workshop began, Brett explained that his main objective was for us to “see” the world differently; to be keenly aware of the textures, shapes, and colors that make up a scene and use them to our advantage. He wanted us to discover the story within the photo, the nuances and the complexities, both literally and figuratively, in order to communicate our vision successfully. In short: to thoughtfully craft images rather than just “take” them.

Below are five lessons (and one neat trick) I learned that I believe will help me (and perhaps you) do just that:

1. Identify what you like about the subject or scene

When you come across something you want to shoot, take a moment to ask yourself what you I like about it? Brett explained, “We choose compositions because of the way they make us feel.” Meaning more often than not, it’s emotion not intellect that directs our eye.

At first I found it difficult to articulate what drew my attention beyond the surface (ie. the light is really pretty, or I love the way that looks), but the more I thought about my reaction, the better I perceived the scene. Taking the time to reflect—even for a few seconds—provided me with valuable insight on how make an image that would convey my feelings more accurately.

Take this very simple example: Minutes before I landed in New York from Santa Fe, I took a picture of the wing and the beautiful twinkling lights below (above left). Then I remembered to ask myself why I was drawn to the scene. I realized it wasn’t just the beautiful lights; I loved the idea that I was privy to an extraordinary view of the city from my own little seat in the clouds.

With that in mind, I composed the next shot to include a portion of the window frame, giving the photo a completely different feel. A person looking at the image now has more context. They become a passenger peering through the window with me which is the essence of what I wanted to communicate.

2. Instill your images with Poetry and Metaphor

What makes an image compelling? Brett says, “Poetry and metaphor.” Since that’s a tad esoteric, consider it a sense of depth and meaning that goes beyond the literal scene. What story can you tell? What observation about life, love, friendship, or society, can you work into your image that will make a viewer connect on a level that stirs the emotions? Everyday Brett challenged us to create images with poetry using metaphor. Below are a few of my attempts.

Example 1:

On our second day of the workshop, we visited El Santuario de Chimayo, a tiny Roman Catholic church built in the early 1800’s. A modern day pilgrimage site receiving over 300,000 visitors a year. Outside the sanctuary, crosses made from pieces of unfinished lumber stood bleakly in front of the iron gate that separated the sanctuary from the parking lot. Behind a row of cars, I saw this small cross with the word “Hope” and the crudely carved phrase “Dear Lord Pray for Us All.” It was a passionate plea for help that I imagined had gone unanswered for “Hope” had fallen over.

Outside the gates of El Sanctuario de Chimayo in Santa Fe

Example 2:

Religion is a big business, even in the small town that plays host to Chimayo. In this photo, I wanted to show how commercialization feeds off of religion by featuring the mural of Mary juxtaposed to the litany of signs advertising local shops and businesses.

Outside the gates of El Sanctuario de Chimayo in Santa Fe

Example 3:

On our last day of shooting we ventured to a beautiful area with white rocks teaming with interesting shapes and textures. Brett’s assignment: use a model as a metaphor for something in nature. I was struck by the large, dark boulders that littered the white-washed wonderland. For this image my model, Diaolo, became another rock dotting the rugged landscape.

Outside the gates of El Sanctuario de Chimayo in Santa Fe

3. Slow down and explore your options

Ever see something that you like, snap a picture and then move on? Yep, me too. Next time, slow down and explore your options. In one exercise, Brett asked us to take five photos of something that made us feel. With each shot we had to move closer (or move back) and reassess the picture anew. Did the light change? Was there something new to the scene that we hadn’t noticed before? Did the intimacy of a close-up better communicate our vision or did everything fall apart? The deliberateness of the process forced us to slow down and really look at what we were shooting thus providing new opportunities for inspiration.

Example 1:

When I walked up to this area of the Chimayo sanctuary (photo on the left below), the first thing that struck me was how the telephone poles in the background echoed the cross of the sanctuary building in the foreground. But as I walked closer, I saw the way the soft curves of the archway framed the rectangle door. Then I became intrigued by the stain of the wet adobe and how its soft lines mixed with the multiple triangles surrounding the door’s frame. In the end, I felt the image to the right made a stronger statement than the wider angle that first grabbed my attention. If I hadn’t reminded myself to move in, I would have missed it entirely.

Example 2:

One afternoon, we went to Eaves Movie Ranch, a location used in countless westerns including the The Ridiculous Six, starring Adam Sandler, currently in post production. Thomas, who oversees the ranch, was one of our models and a perfect throwback to that era with his cowboy hat and garb, long hair and grizzly beard. I took him to an old barn that had amazing light to shoot a portrait. At first, I photographed him close up and straight on, but when I experimented with various angles, I liked this framing the best. Here you can see a piece of the paddock and the supply shed in the background. I found it to be more visually interesting, with its subtle layers and horizontal lines, while adding greater context to the photo.

Thomas at Eaves Movie Ranch in Santa Fe

4. Make the most of compositional tools.

Leading lines, diagonals, repetition, frames, patterns, layers, triads, triangles… these are compositional elements photographers use to move the viewer’s eye through the frame creating a more compelling image. And that’s what we all want, right? It wasn’t the first time I’d thought about leading lines or patterns and the like, but working with Brett in a workshop environment brought my awareness and understanding to a whole new level.

Example 1:

In this image I was drawn to the repetition. First the eye focuses on the crosses to the right that are in focus. Then the vertical columns move the eye to the back where the crosses are repeated in the door and on the column to the left of the entrance. The lines in the ceiling also lead the eye to the back where the arches are repeated in the windows and doors.

Thomas at Eaves Movie Ranch in Santa Fe

Example 2:

This was taken from inside the studio doorway of a rather eccentric, 70+ year old painter I met while shooting along Canyon road on our first day. I first noticed the sign on the door and I couldn’t help but think that it’s semi-schizophrenic handwriting suited the quirky artist. Outside, stood his old school bicycle, another glimpse into the man’s unique personality. I loved the combination of the two together.

From a compositional perspective, the open doorway is a strong visual element that splits the image in two, thus grabbing the viewer’s attention. The horizontal plank below the sign is like an arrow leading the eye to the right to where it finds the bike, while the vertical edge of the door echoes the wood in the fence post.


Example 3:

Two horses snuggle in another shot from Eaves Movie Ranch. Besides the obvious “adorable” factor, the image combines three triangles, two are created by each of the horses heads while together they form one large triangle, keeping the eye fixed on the center and the equine bromance.


5. Wait until the next day to look at your pictures

During the workshop I was struggling. Every day we got a new assignment and every day I was convinced my work sucked. I would do my best to create wonderful images that were exploding with poetry and metaphors and nine times out of ten I wanted to throw my camera against a wall. Intellectually, I knew what I was learning was incredibly valuable. Emotionally, I hated that I wasn’t instantly fabulous. It was hard. Granted, I put enormous pressure on myself. I think most creative folks do, which means if you’re reading this, you probably know of what I speak. Here’s my advice, if you’re not happy with the way a shoot is going, stick it out, do the best you can and then leave the pictures alone. If you keep going over it in the moment you’ll just spin yourself into the depths of emotional self flagellation. When I stepped away and gave myself the opportunity to disconnect from the shoot and my frustration, I usually found that when I looked at the images again they weren’t so bad. In fact, sometimes I would surprise myself and find something I really thought was good. Perfectionism is a dangerous thing. Don’t let it get the best of you.

(The Trick) Try shooting black and white in camera.

When I first read Brett’s description of the class, he explained that monochromatic images would play a big part in our workshop and it was part of the reason I signed up. I love the look and feel of black and white photos but I’ve never felt particularly at ease creating them. Like most people, I shoot in color and then convert in post-production using Lightroom and Nik filters. More often than not, I’m not sure whether the conversion will look right until it’s done. It’s always been a bit of a crap shoot for me.

Brett wanted us to be able to see the world in black and white, to instinctively know how various colors would look in grey-scale so that we could be deliberate in the creation of our black and white images. His trick to train the eye: shoot black and white in camera.

By setting my Canon 1-DX to monochrome and then changing the “image quality” to capture both a RAW file and a jpeg (Nikon users don’t need to add the jpeg), I could see a black and white jpeg on my LCD screen in real time, while simultaneously capturing a RAW color file for use later while editing. (You’ll want those color channels available so that you can tweak tonalities.)

I have a ways to go, but I’m slowly understanding how colors will convert so that I’ll be able to spot compelling contrasts from the get-go. Eventually I’ll be able to see the world in black and white without having to look at it on my LCD. At least that’s the plan.

If you have any questions or comments about the photos or the workshops, please ask in the comments below and I will be happy to answer. If you’ve been to SFPW or other workshop, I’d love to hear about your experience.

Susan will be responding to comments, so please if you have questions please ask. I would also like to thank Susan for writing this for us, don’t forget to take a look at her site, The Insatiable Traveler.

Influencing Me: Those That Came Before – Margaret Bourke-White

Today I have another female photographer for you from the past. A woman who had a distinguished career and was quite remarkable considering the time she was working. She was Margaret Bourke-White.

Instead of me just telling you about her here is what Wikipedia had to say about her:

Margaret Bourke-White ( June 14, 1904 – August 27, 1971) was an American photographer and documentary photographer. She is best known as the first foreign photographer permitted to take pictures of Soviet industry, the first American female war photojournalist, and the first female photographer for Henry Luce’s Life magazine, where her photograph appeared on the first cover. She died of Parkinson’s disease about eighteen years after she developed her first symptoms.

What an amazing career. There is a link there to a page on her and I’m sure you could learn a lot about her.

I am just going to put her work into a gallery. I just love her work. How amazing is it and it is so different to what most women were doing back then.  I am sure you will agree with me.

On a side note, thanks Victor for the suggestion, it was a good one.

MM 2-16: Monochrome Madness 2-16

There have been a few emails asking me about the next theme and when it is. Next week is theme week. So I hope you have planned what you are going to do for the letter K. There are so many options and I’ve received quite a few already. I’m still working on mine, but I know I will have something by next week.

So remember for MM 2-17 it is a theme.  Anything starting with the letter K.

Shall we take a look at this week.


I spent a lovely day in the country the other day. I went with a friend and we went to so many places. Initially we kept stopping and we realized we were never going to get anywhere, or least to where we wanted to go. Still, we had fun and we will do this some more. This is the Viaduct bridge for the train in Malmsbury. It is an amazing bridge built around the 1880’s.

Don’t forget all the instructions on how to enter your own images are at the bottom of the post.  If you have entered an image then please remember to check your image in the gallery, scroll down and see if anyone has left you any comments.

Now, Monochrome Madness will continue next week and if you wish to participate and submit an image here is how you do it:-

  • You must email me the image you want to include and if you have a blog or website, or somewhere else, please include the link. My email address is
  • The image size should be low res, so the largest side should be 1000 pixels or less.
  • Please insert either your name or your blogs name in the file name.
  • Remember I am on Australian time, so with GMT I am +11 hours at the moment, I publish my post on Wednesday morning.
  • If you need more help with sending images, and get confused about time zones, etc, well, there is a great website called The World Clock, if you go to that and look at Melbourne time, if it’s before 6pm on Tuesday evening, then you can still send me images.  If it’s after that time, you can send me an image, but it will be set aside for the following week.
  • Remember to include a link to your blog or website.
  • Please remember to resize your images, it is fairly simply, you just need to go into any editing software and usually under Image you will find, resize, scale, or image size, something like that and you can resize your image there. Change the dimensions to pixels and make the longest side 1000 pixels or smaller, hit return, and for most types of software that should change the other side automatically as well. Just remember to save it with a different name so you know it is the smaller version.  If you have any problems, please contact me, I don’t mind helping out.

Please note you don’t have to be a WordPress blogger to be in this challenge, you can have a link to a Facebook page, a Flickr page, anywhere really, or no link.  We just want to encourage people to do monochrome images, just for the madness of it. Just to let you know also, that as soon as the challenge is published, all emails and images you have sent me are deleted from my computer.  I respect your copyright and would never keep any of the images.

UfD: Black and White Photography My Way

A few people yesterday expressed an interest about me doing a tutorial on how I do black and white images. There are so many different ways of doing this, and so while I’m going to show you what I do, this is only part of it. This is going to be an easy way, I hope.  Just a few steps, though the first part you can do and leave it there if you choose.

Here is the final image and then I will show you how I did it.


The first step is alway going to choose the image. The best types of images are ones that have lots of contrast, which is lots of darks and lights.  If you choose one that is very colourful but with little contrast it won’t convert to monochrome very well.

I choose an image that was taken in at the Docklands recently of the Melbourne Star. I have opened it in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), which you can do by using the o Browse in Bridge. Click on the image then go to the file menu and press Open in Camera Raw.

You can see the basic processing I did in the image below.


Everything that is done is ACR can also be done in Lightroom.

In the panel on the right, the area above the red oval in the image above and press the fourth icon from the left, as in the image below. Check the box to Convert to Grayscale. You can see the sliders for the different colours or tones that are in the image.  Try playing around with them and watch what happens to the image.


Each colour will give you a difference effect.  Be careful with Aquas and Blues.  They can make skies very pixelated and make them look unnatural.

The image was opened in Photoshop CC 2015. There were some marks on the edge of the image so a new layer was opened and the spot healing tool selected. Make sure the Sample All Layers is checked in the tool options under the main menu at the top.

image-3If you do the changes on a separate layer then you are starting to work non destructively so you never have to do anything to the original image.

To make a new layer you go to the panel where the layers are and down the bottom are a series of icons. Click on the one next to the rubbish bin and it will open a new transparent layer.
image-6You can also open a new layer by going to the Layer Panel in the main menu at the top.  Click new and then okay.

Add a Curves Adjustment Layer. (I don’t know why but sometimes on my computer Curves is upside down, so you might have it up the other way.)  If you click on the triangle at the lighter end and move it along it will increase the highlights a little. Be careful doing this that you don’t blow the highlights out.


Open a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer. Move the contrast to the right, again be careful that you don’t go too far.  Go to where you think it looks good, then go further so it looks horrible, then go back until it looks better again.


Add another new layer (1). Go the tool box and select the gradient tool (2). Up in the tool options turn the opacity down so it isn’t strong (3).  Then add some to the top.  Make sure the gradient is set to Foreground to Transparent.(Do this by with the long icon/window in the tool options bar.)  Click outside the image at the top, then do the same inside just down from the top. You will see where the gradient has been applied. Take a look at the image below. Make sure that black is set as the foreground colour.


A new Curves Adjustment Layer is added and the image is made a little darker. With the lasso tool (located in the tool box) make a selection around the middle of the image. Though this can be done for any part, depends on your photo.

You need to feather the selection, click Shift F6. In the Feather Selection window change Feather Radius to what you would like, I chose 200 pixels.  Press OK.


Add a new Curves Adjustment Layer. In the layer mask, the square that is normally all white now had some black in it. You can see that in the image below. In the curves panel make the image lighter.


You should have noticed that it only happens in the area that you selected.

You are going to add a tone to the image now, but to do this you have to convert it back to a colour image.  If you don’t whatever tone you add will look like a shade of grey.

In the Main Menu at the top click on Image, then Mode and select RGB colour. You will be asked to do a couple of things, pick the don’t do it for each option.


You will need to select the Paint Bucket Tool (1below). If you can’t see it then click and hold on the gradient tool and a window will pop up. In that you will see the tool.

Click on the foreground colour (2) and the window below will appear and you can select your colour. A blue tone was chosen for this image. Press OK


Add a new layer and with the Paint Bucket Tool click on the image, make sure the new layer is highlighted. The whole image will go blue. In the image below you can see the drop down menu that was opened, these are the blending modes.  Go to Color and select it.


Once you have selected it you should see your image have that tone. Look at the image below.


It may be too strong and  you will need to change the opacity for the colour layer. Use the opacity slider at the top of the Layers Panel. Look at the next image.

image-14Here is the final image again.


You don’t  have to do all of these, but it gives you an idea of what I do.  Please remember that, it is what I do, and lots of other people will do different things. I’m sure that we will get lots of ideas for what else you can do to Black and White photos.

Good luck with your own black and white images.


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