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Macro Art – IGPOTY 1st Place

Pleased to hear this morning that the photograph I entered for the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition has won 1st place in the Macro Art category.

Giant Carrot

Giant Carrot – 1st Place IGPOTY Macro Art

This was taken at the Malvern Autumn show where they host the UK National Giant Vegetables Championship, all sorts of vegetables are on display as part of the competition.

People at the show were photographing the whole size of the giant veg, but to me the oversized veg look rather grotesque. This made me think outside the box as a photographer and look at the subjects and interpret them in a different way, as on closer inspection they reveal patterns that are not usually seen on ordinary sized veg. I decided to produce a series of abstract images of the giant veg instead.

When I teach my photography workshops, I always talk about what is the ‘end use’ of the images you take, for these it is a series of fine art framed abstract photographs. For this set I used a Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro lens to focus in close to the vegetables I photographed.

Each giant veg I photographed revealed their own unique abstract patterns as can be seen in the very small selection from the series below. Can you guess what any of them are?

onion

_R4D6207

Pumpkin

My website is www.stephenstuddphotography.com

The judging panel for IGPOTY said: “Stephen’s image has emphatically answered the brief by executing a simple idea extremely well. We get lost in the extraordinary shapes, colours and textures of the carrot, which is anything but the ordinary vegetable we think we are so well accustomed with.”

Congratulations to all the other entries from the competition which can be found here: IGPOTY Macro Art


I run travel and landscape photography holidays and tours in Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam the USA & UK. Also flower photography workshops in spring in the UK.
Please visit the website for full itineraries and dates of tours: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

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Step Inside the Quarry Garden at RHS Chatsworth

This year was the very first RHS Flower Show set in the beautiful grounds of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. Paul Hervey-Brookes designed the Quarry Garden for the Institute of Quarrying, which celebrates it’s centenary this year.

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

The garden won a well deserved RHS Gold Medal and also won Best Show Garden & Best Construction. The commissioned “Passing Light” steel and stone wall was designed by Stroud based sculptor Ann Margreth Bohl.

 

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,  11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

Paul Hervey-Brookes, winning Gold & Best in Show, with Gareth Wilson with Best Construction award at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show.

The gardens influence was the life cycle of a quarry, with the owners having just built a modern house who are themselves influenced by Brutalist architecture.

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

The main water feature in the garden reminded me of visits to old quarries which were at one point an influence in my own landscape photography. The garden also made use of the sweeping Capability Brown landscape of Chatsworth House.

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

The rusted steel colours were picked up in the planting

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

and use of stone boulders in the design.

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

The garden was divided into different zones,

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

which worked well visually in such a large scale garden. It was truly a garden you could get lost in time watching the light bounce around during the days and seasons, especially from the hidden corners.

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

Paul’s planting palette was exquisite.Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

The trio of awards were well justified for a garden of such immense scale at the inaugural Chatsworth House RHS Flower Show.

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

Paul has also designed the Viking Cruises World of Discovery garden which can be seen at Hampton Court Flower Show, which runs from July 4th – 9th July 2017

Paul Hervey-Brookes website: www.paulherveybrookes.com/

Gareth Wilson Landscape Services Ltd: http://www.gkwilsonlandscaping.co.uk/

Stephen Studd Photography: www.stephenstuddphotography.com

Ann Margreth Bohl: www.annmargrethbohl.com

Institute of Quarrying: www.quarrygarden.org

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How to photograph Spring Flowers

Spring is a fantastic time of year to get outdoors with your camera as nature is bursting with so much energy and colour. A walk in the woods in springtime will reveal a myriad of wild flowers, our gardens and parks will have plenty of subjects to photograph too.

flower photography workshop Allium ursinum Wild Garlic Ramsons in woodland Sroud Gloucestershire dawn woods forest wildflowers trees medicinal herb edible

Photograph from: The Medicine Garden: Author: Rachel Corby

 

With the advent of digital photography and phones with cameras  we are all photographers, but what makes one photograph really stand out from the others? The answer to that is there is no single correct way to photograph flowers, however, certain elements do have to be taken into consideration to make a great shot.

Firstly before you start, in your cameras settings, select the highest possible resolution. This will give you clearer detail in your photographs, enabling the image to be used larger without signs of bluriness or noise.
Time of day is an important consideration when taking your photographs, the early bird really does catch the worm! Harsh midday sun makes most subjects look unflattering. Early morning or late afternoon are the best times of day as the light is warmer, less harsh and the colours of the plants look richer. Mornings also tend to be more still, flowers are hard to photograph when they are moving around too much. Windy days are the toughest to photograph flowers on, unless you choose to use the blur creatively with a slower shutter speed.

Bluebells, (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) flower photography workshops Gloucestershire

Weather. Most people are surprised to hear that overcast days can be very beneficial for garden and flower photography. This is because clouds act as a perfect light diffuser, creating even lighting and saturation without the worry of harsh highlights or shadows.

Bluebells, (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) flower photography workshops Gloucestershire

Consider your subject before rushing to photograph it. Walk around and see what you are drawn to, see how the light plays on the flowers. Think about your composition, how is the subject going to fill the frame? Backlit flowers will always look good if the petals are transluscent as it accentuates the colours of the petals, giving off a luminesence and showing off the patterns. Don`t be afraid to try out different angles, getting down to the same height as a flower is very effective, or look up to flowers from below them.

Meconopsis Sheldonii Lingholm - Himalayan Blue Poppy

The background of your photograph is very important as untidy, busy, cluttered backgrounds kill a shot as the viewers eye gets distracted away from the subject. If there are shadows use them to make the flower stand out, or move in closer to the subject.

Aquilegia

For close ups I would always recommend the use of a tripod, they allow you to frame the flower perfectly and keep the image sharp. Also look at the flower to see it is free of blemishes or missing petals.

Iris close up

If you do hand hold your camera, as a very general rule of thumb with a standard lens 1/60th of a second is the minimum shutter speed to use, with longer lenses such as a 200mm look around 1/250th of a second to avoid camera shake. For checking correct exposure always check your histogram not the LCD preview.

Galanthus Nivalis - Snowdrops;

Snowdrops: 1/60s  f11

Finally break the rules, experiment and have fun, try out new angles and backgrounds, you might be surprised with the results you obtain.

Allium Purple Sensation

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ photographed against the sun, post processed in Lightroom.

Try out different processes such as black and white such as the photograph below of a tulip.

Homage to Edward Weston Stephen Studd IGPOTY

Homage to Edward Weston – 3rd place IGPOTY : Monochrome

When photographing wildflowers be careful not to tread on other flowers, leave them just as you found them for insects and others to enjoy.

flower photography workshop Allium ursinum Wild Garlic Ramsons in woodland Sroud Gloucestershire dawn woods forest wildflowers trees medicinal herb edible

Wild Garlic (Ramsons) © Stephen Studd Photography for BBC Gardeners World.


I  am running bluebell flower photography workshops in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire in May: further details can be found here: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com


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How to photograph snow

When it snows it is a great time to go out with your camera and capture its pure white freshness, but how many times do your photos appear dull and grey and lacking that freshness and purity? When photographing snow scenes or ones that have lots of white in, be attentive to your meter readings, it’s very easy to underexpose a predominately white scene.Watering can in snowSnow is much brighter than the 18% medium grey that your camera is averaged to expose for. Your camera is trying to capture the bright white scene as 18% grey which results in underexposed photos, making them look dull and grey like the one above.

So how do you make the image look bright and fresh whilst keeping detail?Watering can in snowIf your camera has an exposure compensation dial then you should dial in about 2 stops overexposure as a starting point. Exposure compensation is used to move the camera away from the cameras suggested exposure to brighter or darker ones. Look at the histogram and make sure the image preview isn`t blinking (indicating overexposed highlights). It takes a bit of practice but after a while you will be able to expose the shot perfectly. It is a good idea when practicing this technique to bracket the shot.

This scene below was a tough one to get right as the bud is against snow and the ice crystals on the bud I wanted to show with all their intricate detail.

Blackcurrant "Ben Nevis" branch with buds covered in snow and ice crystals, winter

As a starting point I added 2 stops overexposure in the exposure compensation dial, which gave a decent image with no highlights (snow & ice) overexposed. As the camera was on a tripod I then bracketed around this exposure for a perfectly exposed image which retained all the detail in the ice crystals.

On a photo shoot for Manfrotto in Svalbard this technique was essential as the whole place was covered in snow and ice at the time of year I was there. At -30C it was important to act quickly and know the way around the camera, as I had 3 pairs of gloves on, a thick outer extreme weather glove, then inside a woolen glove and a silk glove, this was a technique that Alan Hinkes told me about when I met him and asked his advice. I thought he should know, as he is the only British mountaineer to have climbed all 14 mountains with elevations greater than 8,000 metres and he also photographs his ascents. Basically you keep the 2 outer gloves on for as long as possible and for the shot remove the 2 outer gloves on the one hand leaving the silk glove when you are ready to take the photo.

For the shot below I dialled in 1 & 2/3rd stops overexposure in exposure compensation. This kept detail in the snow and also held detail in the blowing snow on the ground. The camera was mounted on a Manfrotto heavy duty 055 tripod as the strong wind blowing, nearly knocking me off my feet!

Arctic circle, North polar region, Europe, Scandinavia, Norway, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen,  view towards Hiorthfjellet mountain and Adventtoppen mountain across Adventdalen valley

Again for the dog sledders below, overexposure was needed to keep the shot looking fresh, with full detail in the dogs and dog sledders.

Arctic circle, North polar region, Europe, Scandinavia, Norway, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen, husky dog sled, dusk

Nowadays many people use their smartphones for blogging and for social media. In your phones camera settings there should be an exposure value / EV setting. Try shooting a snow scene without adjusting this and then shoot the same scene with it set to 1.5+ see those whites whiter, try moving it to 2+ brighter to see if this makes a difference, but be aware of over exposing the scene.

Arctic circle, North polar region, Europe, Scandinavia, Norway, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, view from Longyearbyen towards Hiorthfjellet mountain across Adventfjorden fjord, Advent Bay, woman taking photo across the bay

With this easy technique your snow will look snow white and not a dull flat grey. Have fun in the snow and keep warm!

This technique also works well with any scene that is predominantly white, such as with white flowers or buildings.

Dahlia

When you have finished photographing snow don`t forget to set exposure compensation back to 0



I run travel and landscape photography holidays and tours in Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam.

I also run landscape photography workshops and weekends in the Gower, Wales and Bluebell woods photography workshops in Gloucestershire, please visit the website for full itineraries and information: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

Newsletter subscribers receive special offers throughout the year on my travel photography holidays and landscape photography workshops, you can subscribe here

‘May the light be with you’



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IGPOTY Awards 2015; Behind the Photos

 

 

The International Garden Photographer of the Year awards have just been announced, I was Commended in the Beautiful Gardens category for this shot of Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, Morocco.

Morocco marrakech travel photography holidays workshops tours

Morocco, Marrakech, Jardin Majorelle (Yves Saint Laurent Garden)

I visited the garden a number of times as I was in Marrakech 10 days early before guests turned up for a photography city break I run there. The garden is a photographers dream with its bold colours and planting. The cobalt blue walls are a great backdrop to any plants in pots. The plant in this pot was just catching some sunlight giving depth to the composition.

I also converted it to black and white, and was going to send this one instead as I liked the simplicity of the shot.

Which one do you prefer?

marrakech Morocco Jardin majorelle digital photography holidays tours and workshops

I was also Highly Commended in the Monochrome category for this shot of Chitting Potatoes.

Potatoes chitting by stephen studd Photography

Chitting Potatoes

This was taken with my 100mm Canon macro lens, shot in a north facing window in natural light. It was the two shoots that caught my eye as they looked like weird alien cartoon characters. Even from the simplest of subjects you can find something to photograph with the macro lens.

Congratulations to Magdalena Wasiczek for her overall winning shot: The Ballerinas

To see all the awards for this year follow this link

My websites: www.stephenstuddphotography.com

Travel photography holidays & UK flower photography workshops: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com including City Break to Marrakech & Atlas Mountains.


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Print Gallery

After many requests for prints of my photography I have now started to roll out a new Print Gallery on my website, with three different print sizes.

Digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Venice marrakech Paris Morocco hosted by Stephen Studd

The Prints gallery has travel & flower photography sections. I will be adding new collections throughout the year. To visit the gallery please follow the link to my website.: www.stephenstuddphotography.com

Dahlia flower photography by stephen Studd photographer

I have also set up a new Etsy shop with photographic prints of flowers, this will be added to over time with travel prints too.

To view my Etsy site please click the link below.


For photography commissions my website is www.stephenstuddphotography.com

I also run small group travel photography holidays and flower photography workshops www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-Studd-Photography/387939741345414

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RHS Tatton Park Flower Show 2014 – show gardens

I arrived at Tatton Park for a three day photo shoot, on the Monday, which is the last day of build up, to take a look at the gardens before my 5.30am access over the next 3 days. The weather forecast was for lots of sun, leaving a narrow window for pro garden photographers to shoot, as between about 8am and 6pm the bright sunlight is far too harsh.

There were a few gardens that caught my eye on my first walk around the showground, particularly the ‘See the Wind’ garden designed by Joan Mulvenna and Andrew Lee with it’s purple pink hues of the Hordeum Jubatum (ornamental barley) against the Salvia Nemorosa ‘Amethyst’.

Tatton Park 2014 Cheshire RHS flower show 'See the Wind' garden designed by Joan Mulvenna and Andrew Lee with it's purple pink hues of the Hordeum Jubatum (ornamental barley) against the Salvia Nemorosa 'Amethyst'.

‘See the Wind’ garden designed by Joan Mulvenna and Andrew Lee:  Hordeum Jubatum (ornamental barley) against the Salvia Nemorosa ‘Amethyst’.

The garden sculpture fluttering and twinkling in the breeze, with the movement of the barley, salvia, bamboo and alliums had me captivated for some time, there was a very Zen like feel to the garden, with its simplistic and also complex kinetic design.

Tatton Park 2014 Cheshire RHS flower show 'See the Wind' garden designed by Joan Mulvenna and Andrew Lee with it's purple pink hues of the Hordeum Jubatum (ornamental barley) against the Salvia Nemorosa 'Amethyst'.

‘See the Wind’ garden designed by Joan Mulvenna and Andrew Lee

The garden deservedly won a Gold and Best in Show in the Elements garden category.

Tatton Park 2014 Cheshire RHS flower show 'See the Wind' garden designed by Joan Mulvenna and Andrew Lee with it's purple pink hues of the Hordeum Jubatum (ornamental barley) against the Salvia Nemorosa 'Amethyst'.

Allium spaerocephalon in the ‘See the Wind’garden.

Bathed in late evening golden light was the Gold medal winning Reaseheath College ‘A Taste of Wythenshaw’ garden with the towers of beans growing on steel reinforcing rods, which reminded me of the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.

Tatton Park 2014 Cheshire RHS flower show Reaseheath college A taste of Wythenshawe garden

Towers of beans in the Reaseheath college ‘A taste of Wythenshawe’ garden

The garden made maximum use of space with beds growing fruit, veg and herbs and a living food wall and columns.

Tatton Park 2014 Cheshire RHS flower show Reaseheath college A taste of Wythenshawe garden

Reaseheath college ‘A taste of Wythenshawe’ garden

Another garden that utilised the space for fruit and veg growing with north to south running raised beds was Silver medal winning ‘The Forgotten Corner’ designed by Carl Gerrard in the Summer gardens category.

Tatton Park 2014 Cheshire RHS flower show The Forgotten Corner designed by Carl Gerrard

‘The Forgotten Corner’ designed by Carl Gerrard

It seemed touch and go whether the ‘Elemental’ garden designed by Ian Price would be finished in time for judging and it was a garden that the photographers were eager to photograph. The garden was well placed for very late evening sunset light which showed off the charred wood cladding wall perfectly.

Tatton Park 2014 Cheshire RHS flower show Elemental garden designed by Ian Price.

‘Elemental’ garden designed by Ian Price.

The garden had a contemporary feel whilst also making use of reused and modern materials. It was Ian’s first show garden gaining him a Gold medal.

Tatton Park 2014 Cheshire RHS flower show Elemental garden designed by Ian Price.

‘Elemental’ garden designed by Ian Price.

A favourite designer of mine is Pip Probert and her Gold medal garden ‘The Narrows’ displayed a typical long narrow suburban garden packed full of design ideas with different zones.

Tatton Park 2014 Cheshire RHS flower show Pip Probert 'The Narrows' garden

Pip Probert ‘The Narrows’ garden

I particularly liked the bullrushes reflected in the still water of the pond.

Tatton Park 2014 Cheshire RHS flower show Pip Probert 'The Narrows' garden

Pip Probert ‘The Narrows’ garden

There were red hot plants scattered amongst the vibrant planting in the garden, leading the eye to the red chairs in the outdoor living space at the end of the garden.

Tatton Park 2014 Cheshire RHS flower show Pip Probert 'The Narrows' garden

‘The Narrows’ garden designed by Pip Probert, outdoor living area.

In the Show Gardens category, Best in Show and Gold medal went to ‘Maggie’s Forest Garden’ designed by Amanda Waring and Laura Arison first time show garden designers . The swings by Sitting Spiritually had carved on them ‘A Haven of Peace’ and ‘Warm and Inviting’ which summed up the forest garden inspired design as a space to connect with nature whilst creating a sense of wellbeing.

RHS tatton Park flower show 2014 Maggie's Forest Garden designed by Amanda Waring and Laura Anson

Maggie’s Forest Garden designed by Amanda Waring and Laura Arison

The garden certainly had a calming effect when looking at it, with the gentle flow of water through the rill falling gently in to the pond below.

RHS tatton Park flower show 2014 Maggie's Forest Garden designed by Amanda Waring and Laura Anson

Maggie’s Forest Garden designed by Amanda Waring and Laura Arison

In the Summer Garden category Best in Show went to another first time show garden designer Caroline Lord with her ‘Industrial Transitions’ garden, which used mainly reclaimed materials and was inspired by Manchester’s industrial heritage.

Tatton Park 2014 Cheshire RHS flower show Caroline Lord garden Industrial Transitions

Caroline Lord garden Industrial Transitions

The reused diesel tank made into a water feature with Rudbeckia hirta set against it.

Tatton Park 2014 Cheshire RHS flower show Caroline Lord garden Industrial Transitions

Caroline Lord garden Industrial Transitions

The British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) garden ‘Vogue’ designed by Belinda Belt won a Silver Gilt medal. The design was sleek and contemporary with a huge 100mm thick laser cut stone wall feature which weighed over a ton.

Tatton Park 2014 Cheshire RHS flower show Belinda Belt 'Vogue' garden

‘Vogue’ garden designed by Belinda Belt

I did feel for the Dutch team Clusius College who had a disaster with a water tank breakage on the day of judging in their ‘Digital Green’ garden which only made bronze medal.

'Digital Green' by Clusius College students at RHS Tatton Park flower show 2014

‘Digital Green’ by Clusius College students

They had a very innovative use for reused old computer keyboard parts in their garden.

'Digital Green' by Clusius College students at RHS Tatton Park flower show 2014

‘Digital Green’ by Clusius College students at RHS Tatton Park flower show 2014

I had a déjà vu feeling when I saw The Water Garden designed by Harry Levy which won a Silver medal, because of the yellow summerhouse that featured in last years design.

RHS Tatton park flower show 2014 The Water Garden designed by Harry Levy.

RHS Tatton park flower show 2014 The Water Garden designed by Harry Levy.

This years Tatton Park show can be described as extremely hot.

RHS Tatton park flower show 2014 Element Garden designed by Michael Vinsun

‘Element’ Garden designed by Michael Vinsun

At this years Tatton Park flower show it was good to see so many new show garden designers getting their first Gold medals and Best in Show awards. Tatton Park is now the showcase for the Young Designer of the Year award, which I have covered in a separate blog entry.

Thanks to everyone who makes Tatton Park show the jewel in the North West’s horticultural calendar, I look forward to returning next year.


For photography commissions my website is www.stephenstuddphotography.com

I also run small group travel photography holidays and flower photography workshops www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

I am represented by GAP Photos for my garden photography: http://www.gapphotos.com/imageresults.asp?photogref=139

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