[embedded content]Nowadays, mobile photography is a recognizable art form. With the right lighting or editing, pictures captured on a smartphone can easily turn into museum-worthy masterpieces. In the latest SGNL by Sony episode, Daniel Burman, Founder of the Mobile Photography Awards, along with award-winning photographers share tips on improving mobile photo-taking skills. And better yet, these tips can be incorporated by any level of photographer. But don’t take our word for it. Check out the video and let us know what you think.Text and video via SonyElectronics
Back in 1868, Samuel J. Carter patented his famous “Carter’s Little Liver Pills.” Somehow, this heavily advertised medicine became better known in the expression: “He has more money than Carter has pills. Carter’s pills faded out some 50 years ago, before the digital age, but that expression comes to mind for those looking for either digital cameras or editing programs – or both! More choices are available for both amateurs and professionals alike when choosing a device to capture photos, and for choosing programs for “improving” those photos after capturing them.While Photoshop is still the standard by which all other editing programs are compared, there are now so many programs from which to select that it might be difficult to find the best one for your needs.You might consider looking first at the programs included with many of today’s digital cameras, especially the ILC (interchangeable lens cameras) and the dslrs (digital single lens reflex cameras). Both Canon and Nikon offer excellent basic editing programs, Digital Photo Professional and Nikon Capture NX-D, respectively, and are written for both Macs and Windows. As I’ve written in previous ADP columns, the ability to see certain information in digital images, such as specific focus point(s) and color style, is unique to the camera manufacturer’s software and is well-worth a serious look before looking elsewhere.GIMP and Paint.net are excellent free programs and offer users a wide array of tools and even Photoshop-like layers options. GIMP is available for multiple platforms, while Paint.net is Windows only.Photoshop was originally Mac-only, but the growing PC market demanded a version in the early 1990s. Currently several excellent programs run on either Mac or Windows, and many are available for both platforms. Corel PaintShop Pro is one of the most popular Photoshop alternatives for Windows, and it can create vector graphics and use Photoshop’s own brush tools, as well as having 16-bit RAW capability.Also, for Windows users, ACD Systems offers ACDSee Pro 7 and ACDSEE Photo Editor 6, “lighter” alternatives to Adobe Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC, respectively. ACD Systems does not offer quite the same support for the Mac platform, but it does have a basic editing program in its lineup. Lightroom 5 is an excellent alternative to the full-blown version of Photoshop, as long as you do not need to do any serious actual pixel editing, or slicing and dicing of your image. It’s a great organizing program, and it allows photos to be quickly tagged and also “fixed” quickly.Mac users also have some excellent “Mac-only” choices. Apple Aperture 3 is essentially a Lightroom alternative and very inexpensive given its capabilities. Pixelmator 3.2 has an incredible array of tools, including a brand new content-aware healing tool that easily rivals Photoshop’s content aware tool – tough to beat for $30. For you RAW shooters, make sure that whatever editing program you use has either the latest RAW converter update, or that your operating software is current and supports your camera’s RAW files.For me, well, I use a variety of editing programs. Because of its wide array of tools and pixel editing capabilities, I subscribe to Adobe’s most recent Creative Cloud programs, enhanced with NIK, Topac, OnONE and Imagenomic plugins. However, I truly enjoy the ease of Picture Code’s excellent program “PhotoNinja,” which might just have the easiest batch-editing routine currently available. Aperture 3, Pixelmator, Lightroom and Nikon Capture NX2/NX-D round out the programs. The NIK plugins are available for Aperture, Lightroom and Capture NX2. Photoshop is still the one that does just about everything, but those others are coming pretty darned close.A few tips: Always start your edits by reducing noise – subsequent editing steps can add noise, and starting with as little as possible is always best. Where possible, batch process your edits – it will make life a lot easier and keep you from getting that glazed, eight-hour monitor look … and save your file(s) with a unique name. Don’t overwrite your original, just in case you need it in the future.
Dan Reardon is getting ready to teach the basics of digital photography to students again this summer. Reardon is a retired West Irondequoit School Media Coordinator and lifelong Irondequoit resident.His photography course will take place over a two day learning excursion. On day one, students will learn photo tips while on a photo excursion, snapping pictures in a local park. A number of digital tricks will be taught. The second day will teach students to use photo images creatively in the High School Computer Lab. Photographers should bring their own camera, if they have one.For more information or to register, contact West Irondequoit Community Education at www.westirondequoit.org or call 336-3014. Refer to course code KID7960.
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) –
With temperatures on the rise, your air conditioner is working in overdrive. Duke Energy has a plan where you can save money or earn credit toward your next electric bill.
The program is called Power Manager, and it’s a device that will lower your AC use during high demand for electricity. Duke Energy installs a free radio controlled device next to your AC unit on the outside of your home, and it cycles your air conditioner off and on when demand is especially high.
Under the program, you receive a one time credit of $25 or $35 on your bill. You also receive a credit on your electric bill whenever Duke uses the Power Manager device to turn your air conditioning unit off and then automatically back on.
Duke Energy residential customers can sign up by calling 1 (877) 392-4848. Participants must own a single-family home and have a functional central air conditioning unit with an outside compressor.
Here are some other tips that could help conserve energy and save money:
Keep your curtains and blinds fully closed on the sunny side of the home.
Minimize door traffic to the outside.
Ceiling fans and other air circulating fans can improve your comfort.
Postpone unnecessary lighting, ironing or baking or running the clothes dryer.
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) use much less electricity and produce much less heat than standard incandescent lights.
Insulate your air conditioning and heating ducts.
Copyright 2014 WXIX. All rights reserved.
Mlive Media Group file photo
Josh Elledge is chief executive “Angel” of SavingsAngel.com, a website that teaches consumers how to save money through a free money savings video eCourse and podcast. SavingsAngel also provides hundreds of 50 percent off or better deals each week to members by matching local grocery and drug store sales with its free database of over 5,000 accessible coupons.
As we head out for summer adventures, many of us will be documenting the fun with our camera or phone.digital photography makes it easy to snap pics, but you don’t want those memories languishing on your SIM card or hard drive. Use these tips to find affordable prints, canvas photo art, photo books and more.Watch for deals around major holidaysHolidays are prime time for photo deals. We just saw a number of great deals in the weeks leading up to Father’s Day. These included 50 percent off mounted photos at Meijer, a $10 coupon for a $10 purchase at Shutterfly and a free photo collage from CVS. Keep an eye on the SavingsAngel.com blog and newsletter where we post many of these deals.Spread your business aroundMany sites offer free prints with your first order. Take full advantage of this by rotating where you buy your photos.Normally, these offers will be advertised directly on the website. If you don’t see one, try searching for the site on RetailMeNot.com just to be sure a coupon isn’t available.Find a coupon codeSpeaking of RetailMeNot, you should be searching for a coupon code every time you print photos even if you aren’t a first time customer.You can also find coupons through the store website, in weekly ad circulars or on digital coupon apps such as Meijer mPerks.Choose in-store pick-upWhen you order online, you can save money by picking up your purchase in the store. Even web-only retailers have partnerships allowing for in-store pickup.For example, Shutterfly will let you pick up many orders at Target, Walgreens or CVS. Snapfish orders can often be collected from Walgreens or Walmart locations.Buy frames at the dollar storeOnce you have your photos printed, you want to be able to display them proudly. Rather than spend a lot of money at a regular retailer, head to the dollar store for a bargain.Although not everything at the dollar store is of good quality, many discount stores have surprisingly nice frames. Double check their joints to make sure they are secure and inspect them for any wayward glue. If you’re crafty, you can make those frames really shine with a little paint or other adornments. Go to Pinterest.com and search for “dollar store frame” for inspiration.Finally: a word about qualityIn my experience, there isn’t much difference in quality among the major players when it comes to prints.However, bigger ticket items such as canvas prints or mounted photos can be a hit or miss with some of the cheaper companies. Bargain basement websites may have sloppy canvas wraps or odd cropping. If you’re planning to spend some serious money on a larger photo, my advice is to definitely search for reviews. In addition to a web search, check out the site’s Facebook page to see if other customers are complaining or complimenting the business’s work.With so many great deals out there, you have plenty of options to get low cost prints and photo items to help keep those special memories alive.
A Post By: Andrew S. Gibson
Andrew’s book Mastering Lightroom III is on sale now at Snapndeals for 40% off. This is a limited time offer, grab it while it’s available.
Today I’m going to show you just how easy to use, and effective Lightroom is, for converting colour photos to powerful black and white images.
The key to getting the best out of it is to use the Raw format rather than JPEG. The extra bit depth means they contain far more information for Lightroom to use. The end result is that you have more options and get smoother conversions.
This article concentrates on global adjustments – those that affect the entire image (I’ll leave local adjustments to another article).
There are two ways to convert an image to black and white in Lightroom:
Set Treatment to Black & White in the Basic panel
Go the B&W tab in the Color/HSL/B&W panel
Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.
Set Treatment to B&W in Basic panel
A good way to start is with a colour image that has already been processed. Before you start, set Saturation and Vibrance to zero, and adjust the White Balance sliders to give a neutral colour balance (the Auto setting works well most of the time).
This preps the image for the conversion. Here’s my starting image.
And this is what it looks like with Treatment set to Black & White.
The next step is to refine the conversion using the Tone sliders. These are the most useful ones, working in order from top to bottom:
Exposure – sets the overall brightness of the image. Adjust this first. If you started with a processed colour image, you may not have to.
Contrast – sets the overall contrast. Most black and white images benefit from higher contrast than you would use for colour processing. Set Contrast second.
Shadows – adjusts the darkest tones in the photo independently of the others. Use this to make the shadows lighter or darker.
Highlights – adjusts the lightest tones independently of the others. Use it to make the highlights lighter or darker.
With my photo I increased Contrast, moved the Highlights slider left to make the model’s skin darker, revealing texture, and the Shadows slider left to darken the shadows and add drama. Here’s what it looks like so far.
There are three other sliders you may find useful:
Clarity – increases mid-tone contrast, emphasizing sharpness and texture. A side effect is that the image often becomes a little darker when you increase Clarity, so you may need to return to the Exposure or Shadows sliders to lighten the photo.
My article Four Ways to Improve Your Photos With the Clarity Slider in Lightroom goes into the topic in more depth.
White Balance – after you have used the other sliders, you can go to the Temp or Tint sliders and move them to see the effect they have on your conversion. These sliders change the colour balance in the original photo, which in turn alters the tones in the image. Experiment with these to see if they improve the tones in your image.
These three images show the difference it can make. Moving the Temp slider altered the skin tones (see second image), and moving the Tint slider mostly affected the green background (see third image). The differences are subtle, you may have to look closely to see them.
Activate the B&W tab in the Color/HSL/B&W panel
The second option for converting photos to black and white in Lightroom is to go straight to the B&W tab in the HSL/Color/B&W panel.
Again, it is a good idea to start with a processed colour photo with a neutral colour balance and Vibrance and Saturation zeroed.
The eight sliders under this tab let you make the tones corresponding to the colours in the original photo lighter or darker.
For example, if you move the Blue slider left Lightroom makes any grey tones converted from blue darker. Move it right and it makes them lighter. The most obvious use of this slider is for making blue skies go dark and dramatic in black and white.
The other coloured sliders work the same way. Alternatively you can use the Targeted Adjustment Tool. To do so, click on the Targeted Adjustment Tool icon (see below red arrow on the left) and move the mouse over the grey tone you wish to adjust in the image. The Targeted Adjustment Tool icon and a cross-hair appear (see below, arrow on the right). Hold the left mouse button down and pull the mouse down to make the tones underneath the cross-hair darker, or up to make them lighter. Lightroom analyses the colours under the cross-hair and moves the appropriate colour sliders accordingly.
Be careful not to move the colour sliders too far or you will introduce unwanted artefacts and haloes into the image. The point at which this happens depends very much on the content of your photo. The best approach is to get in the habit of zooming to 100% and checking to make sure that there are no haloes around edges, and that the transitions are smooth in the affected colours.
This screenshot shows what happens when you push the sliders too far (in this case the Blue slider to -58). The edge of the sculpture is marked by a thin halo that isn’t present in the original photo:
Note that the initial position of the colour sliders in the B&W tab depends upon a setting in the Presets tab in Preferences. If the Apply auto mix when first converting to black and white box is unticked, the sliders will be in their zeroed positions.
If it is ticked, then Lightroom sets them according to what it calculates will make a good conversion. My preference is to have the colour sliders zeroed, and it’s what I advise you to do. If you’d like to see Lightroom’s conversion, you can press the Auto button at the bottom of the B&W tab at any time.
After you have finished in the B&W tab you can go to the Basic panel and make further adjustments with the sliders as explained above. Of course, if you elected to go to the Basic panel first, you can then go to the B&W tab to make changes there. In reality you may find yourself switching between the two panels as you refine the image.
How do you know which panel to go to first? That depends on the image. If it’s a photo with strong colour, then the B&W tab will probably be the most useful. But if the colours are not so strong, then the Basic panel may be better. It’s a judgement call that becomes easier with experience.
I’ve only touched on the topic of black and white conversion in this article. Now you have learnt how to make global adjustments. In my next article I will show you how to make local adjustments to really bring your black and white images to life.
Andrew’s book Mastering Lightroom III is on sale now at Snapndeals for 40% off. This is a limited time offer, grab it while it’s available.
Mastering Lightroom: Book Three – Black & White
My ebook Mastering Lightroom: Book Three – Black & White goes into the topic of black and white in depth. It explains everything you need to know to make dramatic and beautiful monochrome conversions in Lightroom, including how to use the most popular black and white plug-ins. Click the link to visit my website and learn more.
Have you ever been in the middle of posing for a photograph when the photographer told you to “act natural”? It can be tough to act natural when you are told to, and even tougher when you have people staring at you. In this situation, the photographer’s goal was, most likely, to try to achieve a candid photograph.
If you are anything like me, then you probably feel like you’ve won the lottery when you are able to capture a good candid photo. Candid photography is the act of taking pictures of people in their most candid form, or when they are acting the most natural. This means that they are in an “informal” or “un-posed” state. If you need some tips on capturing your subjects in their most raw and pristine form, read on for 8 of the best tips for candid photography.
Get the quick and dirty basics of photography here, an essential for all beginners.
Types of Candid Photography
Before we get into the tips, let’s take a moment to define the two different sub categories of candid photography, which are street photography and reaction photography.
Street Photography: Street photography is what it sounds like. It involves actually going out onto the street and observing people or things in their natural habitat and environment. For instance, you can decide to capture a homeless man begging on the street, a couple walking hand in hand, or a cyclist sweating in the heat through their workout. Street photography is meant to capture and document human and animal life in its natural state.
Reaction Photography: Reaction photography is a great way to candidly capture someone’s natural reaction. Even if a person is aware of a camera, their reaction to a surprise will make it look like they are not posing. A great example of this could be a surprise engagement or surprise party. The person who is surprised is usually so overcome with emotion that even though they know cameras are there, you will still be able to capture a raw reaction as a photographer.
Top 8 Tips for Candid Photography
Tip 1: Take your Camera Everywhere
This is probably a no-brainer, but one of the best way to capture things that you were not sure were going to happen is to take a spontaneous photograph. As a photographer, you always want to be ready and on your feet to capture certain moments. The best bet is to take your camera everywhere you go. Overtime, you will become more at ease with whipping your camera out. Also, people who you know will get used to you always having a camera around and will respond naturally to your whipping a camera out.
Tip 2: Use Long Zoom
If you want to be sneaky about taking a candid photograph, consider using a long zoom for your camera. This is going to enable you to stay as far away from your subjects as possible so that they will not be aware that you are photographing them. The less they know the more relaxed and natural they will be. Use a telephoto lens or a long zoom to shoot people from the outside of their personal space.
Start shooting wildlife from remote locations with this course.
Tip 3: Disable Flash
How do you know when someone is taking a picture of you? You will usually see a flash go off. If you want to take multiple photographs without signaling to others that you are there, photograph without a flash. If you are in a low light situation or environment, increase your ISO settings, use a faster lens, or open up the aperture of your camera for a “natural light mode”. All of these techniques can help you blend in more as a photographer.
For tips on taking beautiful natural light photography, check this out.
Tip 4: Take Multiple Shots
The more shots that you take of a person, the more likely you are to capture an image that is candid. digital cameras, or dslrs, make this easy, and you can sometimes get some surprising and spontaneous shots that you wouldn’t have gotten by posing someone. Shoot in bursts of images and you will increase your chances of getting a perfect candid photograph.
Tip 5: Photograph People Doing Things
This goes in line with street photography – photographing people in their natural state while they are doing things. Not only is it easier to capture a candid photograph this way, but it is also much more interesting for the photo. Candid photos or interesting pictures usually do not involve people sitting passively. Remember, timing is everything.
Tip 6: Use Your Hip
You probably did not think your hips would come in handy for candid photography, but setting your camera on your hip can help you achieve a candid photograph easier because your subject will be less likely to see your camera there. If you do this, try to set your lens to a wider angle setting to sidestep any aiming problems.
Tip 7: Use Foreground Elements
To make shots appear more candid, try to purposely include something in the background of the shot. This will make the photograph appear as if you are hiding to capture the photo. You can do this by shooting over someone’s shoulder, or incorporating a tree or a branch in a picture and shooting behind it.
Tip 8: Take Pictures of Posed Shots
The next time your friends or family are on their way to take some professional staged photographs – tag along. A fun way to capture candid moments is to take photos of other people taking posed shots. In these moments, everyone who is in the shot will be focused on the professional photographer and not you. You can shot from the side, zoom in, or take some profile positioned shots to achieve some pristine candid photographs.
For candid photography, the best tip is to simply get out there and start taking as many photos as you can in as many places as possible. Enroll in this course that will help you become a better photographer, and get ready to capture your friends, family, and strangers in their rawest, and most beautiful, form.
[embedded content]Link to the iTunes store
We just marked our 4 year anniversary for Camera+ (12 million sold!) by launching a new, simply awesome, camera app called MagiCam. This app was a pure joy to create with the other members of the tap tap tap super team. All the details of the app and a few precious moments involving a hotdog with too much mustard & a goat selfie are in the video above.
MagiCam is our response to users who wanted a simple, clean, one-touch camera app with the power of Camera+, but without all the sliders and buttons. All the complex editing happens background, so that users have a seamless experience from snapping their photos to sharing them. MagiCam isn’t replacing Camera+, in fact we have big things planned for both apps in the future.
As for me, I am enjoying being back in my home town of Victoria, BC, living with my fiancé amongst the trees, ocean, and wildlife that knocks on my door every night for a midnight snack. I’m talking about you, Crumsby the Raccoon!
Special thanks to the awesome Dave Wallace of Innonvate Imageworks who filmed and edited this video with lightning speed!
Tags: iPhoneography, magicam
If you’re a decent photographer, sooner or later someone will ask you to capture their nuptials. While this is a job often best left to pros, you can up your odds of success with a bit of preparation. Here are 25 ways to stay friends if someone asks you “shoot my wedding!”
DO be clear about what you’re offering. “Make sure the couple knows that you’re shooting as a favor and that you can’t guarantee results,” says New York City-based wedding pro Cappy Hotchkiss. “I’ve seen many friendships end over this.” Limit expectations, and “don’t get roped into doing a ton of large family groups. Explain that you will capture groups as they occur,” adds the photographer. If it’s going to take you months to deliver the photos, let the couple know in advance.
DON’T miss colorful background detail. For the Brooklyn, NY, wedding pictured above Dennis Pike included an ersatz NYC taxi and the Williamsburg Bridge.
DO learn the basics. Visit the websites of wedding photographers and see how they do it. “Try assisting an experienced wedding photographer. You will see first hand how it’s done, with zero pressure on you,” recommends Dennis Pike, the northern New Jersey photographer who shot the couple in the car at left. “The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be, and the people you are photographing will feed off of that.”
DO pre-plan. “Don’t walk into a wedding thinking you can go with the flow. Weddings aren’t like street photography, where you can walk around taking pictures,” says wedding pro Jonathan Scott, who has studios in both New York and Florida. “Pre-planning will make sure you don’t miss important shots.” Scout the location in advance for good backgrounds and lighting. Do Internet searches for the venue to see how other photographers capture the location.
DO ask what the couple wants. Pre-planning includes finding out what pictures and which guests are most important to the couple. “Make sure you get good portraits of the VIPs,” says Pike.
DO know the agenda. Learn in advance how the day will flow. “You need to know what is going to happen and when in order to be in the right place at the right time. Be sure you find out, for example, when classic moments like the first kiss, first dance, and the cake cutting will occur,” says Dennis Pike.
DON’T be afraid of high ISOs. It’s better to take a sharp, noisy image at 1/500 sec and ISO 6,400 than a low-noise image that’s blurry at 1/30 sec and ISO 400. You can always do noise reduction when processing your RAW files.
DO finesse compositions. Instead of asking her subjects to move, Hotchkiss moves herself. “You don’t want to disturb the moment by heavy-handed posing. I block out unwanted background clutter by tweaking my position left, right, up, or down.” She also says to be aware of the lighting. If, in your viewfinder, the lighting looks harsh on your subjects’ faces, it may look even harsher in the final image.
Nikon’s new entry-level D3300 camera takes a lousy selfie, doesn’t fit in your back pocket on the dance floor and can’t reserve a table for two at Chez Josephine.
This $649.95 dslr, obviously, is neither cellphone nor point-and-shoot but a digital version of the single-lens-reflex camera long used by professionals and serious amateur shooters. Although they’re distinctly bigger, and heavier, than a point-and-shoot, dslrs have several advantages:
The shooter sees, through the lens, exactly what will appear in a photograph. A dslr sees the reflection, as in “reflex,” through a mirror and prism. A point-and-shoot, which uses a viewfinder through the camera’s body, can only approximate the actual image.
It takes a better picture. Stop counting megapixels: It’s not the number of megapixels, but their size. A better indicator of picture quality is the size of a camera’s sensor, where the lens projects the image. A point-and-shoot’s sensor area is maybe a quarter the size of a pro-style DSLR’s sensor, which explains the greater clarity of DSLR photos.
This camera, 24.2 for megapixel counters, also uses Nikon’s newer Expeed 4 image processor.
The D3300 comes with an AF-S DX Nikkor retractable-barrel 18-55 mm zoom lens.
Aside from their higher price and bigger size — this weighs about 1 1/2 pounds with the lens — DSLRs are more complicated to operate. As a former Nikon SLR (analog) owner from the pre-iPhone days, I had some experience with similar cameras. But I had become so detached from f-stops and variable shutter speeds by a decade of mindless point-and-shoot and instant-iPhone gratification that I welcomed the Nikon’s “mode” dial for basic settings such as auto, disabling the flash and taking portraits or close-ups. A function button, near the lens mount, changes ISO and other settings.
Beginners have much to learn. Transferring highlights of the 120-page user’s manual to the on-board menu, though, makes the D3300 feel like a training-wheels camera.
Some concerns: The 3-inch screen, unlike more expensive models, doesn’t move. The tiny viewfinder, for anyone used to oversize screens on a point-and-shoot, will challenge newbies initially. The D3300 also lacks built-in Wi-Fi to send photos instantly to a phone, friend or computer — the Wi-Fi adapter is an awkward add-on.
This amateur stuck in auto mode is still not sure why a camera with high-resolution video would have a monophonic microphone. And I often struggled to see in dimmer light the too-small focus points that appear through the viewfinder when half-pressing the shutter. Because it took about two seconds to focus and shoot, then almost twice that for back-to-back shots, I sometimes missed the optimal photo too.
Yet the D3300 can produce high-resolution pictures (and video) like the pros, as I found out when I packed it for a recent 16,000-plus-mile round trip to China. Nothing announces “tourist” like lugging a camera that’s 3.9 inches tall, 4.9 inches wide and 3 inches deep through Tiananmen Square.
I liked the high ISO range (12,800), its five-frames-per-second burst mode and seemingly endless battery life — it powered close to 700 high-resolution images and some video over eight days without a recharge.
For an assessment of the manual capabilities, I dished it off to a colleague, a professional photographer who also teaches a multimedia course at a local college. He was put off by the camera’s lighter weight (next to a pro-style camera) and the effort required to override auto modes.
After considering the camera for his multimedia class this fall, he’s now favoring a Canon EOS-M mirrorless camera.
But for the first-time DSLR user, the D3300 combines the ease of point-and-shoot and enough technical sophistication to challenge any amateur.
ABOUT THE CAMERA
— What: Nikon D3300 DSLR
— Cost: $649.95
— The good: “Mode” dial for basic settings, good image quality, excellent battery life. A comfortable camera for first-time DSLR owners.
— The not so good: Expense, size, weight, no Wi-Fi or GPS. It’s not a point-and-shoot.
— Information: nikonusa.com
©2014 Chicago Tribune
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