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Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Although it looks like a monochrome photo, it's actually colour. No tinkering with the camera and I don't own Photoshop... this is straight from the camera.

As I was getting into the car yesterday morning I was struck by the way the ow morning light looked on the... the... I don't know what to call it. It's that snow stubble that gets left behind when the winds blow all the loose snow away. This is the street right next to the car, with the camera lifted of the ground about a foot.

I have no idea why, but I really like this one.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Snowy wild cherries

I tried for a bit of colour with this one. It's surprising how difficult it can be to find colour in a snow storm!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Front porch steps

The storm blew the snow all round, even up onto the top step of the front porch. The plant is trailing from the planter, and was blown by the wind atop the snow. Early morning, as you can see from the shadows. The green and concrete helped the camera choose a decent setting, but I still tinkered with it on manual.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Skywatch Friday

Another impromptu, informal Skywatch Friday post. The real deal is over at

This is how it looked outside my front door this morning. The skies were clear and I was reminded that I hadn't made a post in a few days so... here it is! 24F / -4C and thankfully, no wind.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snow storm

This is the morning after the storm. Amazingly enough, all the people shoveled their sidewalks - that's not a given, especially with some of the older folks. I'm sure some Good Samaritans helped them out!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Weekend snow storm

Had a snow storm this weekend. Left something like a foot of snow down here in the valley; two feet up in the hills. At times, it was coming down in excess of an inch per hour. This is one of those times

Friday, December 19, 2008

Skywatch Friday

Sort of. It's unofficial. The real Skywatch Friday folks are over at I'm just an occasional interloper :-)

Yes, another ice storm photo. This is the 2nd day after, and it was an eerie sort of light. I waited all day for a photo of today's sky, but it basically went from 18% grey to 100% black and was completely featureless but for the snow!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Unfortunate ice

Ice has an ugly side, too. Just about every tree on the block lost limbs, weighed down by the heavy sheath of ice that encased them. Falling limbs damaged cars and tore down power and telephone wires (which are above ground here.)

This particular branch was merely an obstacle in the road - it didn't cause any additional damage. We'll have to see how the tree fared when spring arrives.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ice at night

Ice on one of those decorative little trees one finds planted in corporate parking lots. I parked the car close enough to frame the shot and planted the camera firmly on the roof of the car to steady it. It took a couple of tries to get the one I wanted, a bit of adjustment of the manual settings. The flash was a different sort of shot altogether, too hard for my tastes, so I went with the available light instead. I probably would have taken the same dozen shots with my film camera but it's so much easier with electrons!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ice on sedum

On the 5th, we had snow. On the 11th, we had ice.

I photographed this sedum back then, and here it is now encased in ice. The temperature finally went above freezing today, so this truly was a fleeting image.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Had an ice storm last night. Everything is covered, and many tree limbs came down due to the weight of all the ice. Lost power for a bit too.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mystic Aquarium

The aquarium has beluga whales in a very large outdoor enclosure. At one end of the enclosure is a glass wall where people can interact with the whales. And interact they do. The whales see you very well, and they swim by the window almost constantly. I'm pretty sure they nod their head if they catch you waving but I didn't exactly do a scientific study on it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mystic aquarium

In contrast to the chilly weather (it was 8F this morning) this creature lives in perennially warm water. It's a spiny lobster, close up. This is his face, from his right side.

My Bahamian Mum calls these guys crawfish.

Natural light - I felt strange using a flash right next to these guys.

The Mystic Aquarium is located in Mystic, Connecticut and has some nice outdoor exhibits including penguins and beluga whales. These particular penguins are warm-weather birds, and go inside when the weather is below about 20F. The lobsters stay inside where it's nice and cozy. There's a touch tank for the litle ones, and several larger tanks (enclosure is a better word) for larger species like sharks and rays.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The tooth!

The little guy's second tooth came out (he was quite brave about this one!) and he insisted on taking its portrait. I had to take several, actually, as he was so excited he couldn't keep his hand still!

The tooth faery is going to make a visit. He'll place his tooth under his pillow with a note, and the tooth faery will 'write back' and leave a coin in place of the tooth.

I wonder if other cultures have this tradition?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas lighting

Some people decorate their houses and shrubbery with lights for Christmas. There are all sorts of ways it's done: some people put up as many strings of different colours as they can, with Santa Clause full sized in his sleigh on the roof, to boot!

This neighbour was not quite as... exuberant as that, preferring a more delicate touch with miniature white lights instead.

There's certainly room in the world for both, but this one came out better in the photograph!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Snow on sedum

This is the front garden, with Sedum 'Herbstfreude' - Autumn Joy. There isn't much colour left out there now but this is a neat picture, reminiscent of the gentle hills surrounding the valley.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I'm late posting; apologies! Had a bit of snow Sunday afternoon. It was mostly gone by Tuesday morning, but it was enough to make snowballs!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Theme day: Circles/spheres

Every month, City Daily Photo encourages bloggers to post a photo based on a common theme. This month, it's Circles/Spheres. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

A few days ago I attended my 30th reunion of my high school - Mont Pleasant class of 1978. It was a last-minute sort of thing, but it was a lot of fun. I didn't take all that many photos, spending the time chatting and even dancing. For my classmates who knew me back then, yes, it's probably a surprising thing to imagine me dancing but life is fun when you try new things!

Our school colours were red and white, and the great people who decorated the hall remembered that, putting up red and white balloons at each table. This particular photo is intentional. The balloons were moving slightly in the air currents and I thought they'd look cool if I left the shutter open a long time - here a full second. I braced the camera on the table and hoped for the best. 'Manual' is cool, even on point and shoot cameras like my Nikon CoolPix 950.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Skywatch Friday

Well, sort of.

This dramatic sky greeted me this morning, and I felt compelled to share it. It's babooshka's fault :-)

This isn't an official Skywatch Friday post because I found the mechanics of registering with Mr Linky a bit too much for a spur of the moment shot like this.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

It's grey but not too cold, and in my mind's eye, I see it without the cars, without the pavement, without the power lines. I imagine the sidewalks made of mud; the houses huddled together for protection from the wind as much as from the natives. It seems to me this scene is very similar to what the original settlers saw when they celebrated their Thanksgiving Days.

They knew very well that these chilly autumn days would lead to frigid winter ones, where everything they were to eat was stored in their pantries and root cellars. No dash to the store to pick up a pound of butter... a harsh life, yet they were thankful for the bounty the land gave them during the summer.

I'm thankful that I live in a time when people don't die from catching a cold. I'm thankful that my family can find the time to come together and share bread, and I'm thankful that even in the middle of the city, furry creatures like that grey streak dashing across the sidewalk still pay us a visit. To remind us of the land under our feet, and it's importance to our lives.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving preparations

I think I may be overdoing the macro setting on my camera. We were preparing a large pumpkin for our Thanksgiving dinner, cutting it up with a very large knife when I saw the lovely colour of the flesh. The pumpkin weighed around 20 pounds; probably better as a jack o'lantern than a cooking pumpkin, but in the spirit of the early settlers, we waste little here.

This particular pumpkin got turned into a pie and several loaves of pumpkin bread. There's still half of it I need to cook!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Black cat

It isn't until you see them in very bright light that you find out that black cats aren't. They're really dark brown. This fellow was relaxing in a sunbeam on a cold autumn day and so I decided to try to take his portrait. In some ways, he's every bit as difficult to capture a photo of as the white cat is!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Science at home

Little ones are forever bringing running science experiments at home. Growing marigolds for Mother's Day, volcanoes made of baking soda and vinegar and the experiment photographed here: the ever popular 'grow a bean plant and see the roots.'

This particular bean is growing in a lump of potting soil placed in a bit of plastic wrap, the bean placed in the soil at the plastic wrap, then put into a cup. The scientist can lift the plastic wrapped soil out of the cup and see the root development at any time, and the plant can grow somewhat naturally.

I was asked to help document the progress of our intrepid bean, and this particular photo looked interesting with the combination of textures captured on that windowsill.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


A neighbour's fences in the morning light, before the leaves all blew away. My camera is too slow (well, maybe it's me who's slow!) but I couldn't capture the falling leaves in the frame, so I settled on this still life study.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The contrasts caught my eye. Fog attenuates colours, so the bold colour of the flag stood out immediately. More subtle is the contrast between the trees bravely holding their leaves and the one already prepared for winter's winds.

Sometimes it's the little things that satisfy best.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Watch your step

It's hard to believe this is 10 minutes away from the middle of the city. Moccasin Kill Preserve. The drop on the left is about 200 feet, give or take a few. There seem to be precious few places left where one can actually face nature without a guard rail in sight.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Today, we remember those who served in our nation's military - Veteran's Day. Originally Armistice Day, it was to mark the anniversary of the end of The Great War, World War I. I regret that I didn't go find our WWI monument, and so I had a hard time trying to find a local photograph, but I took this photo of a submarine sailor, on duty, this year. It is probably my own imagination at work, but I think it captures the spirit of military service. He seems alone, but his comrades are close at hand, every man doing his job in a still dangerous world.

We remember you, who served then. We remember you, serving now.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Leafless trees

Top: One month ago.
Bottom: Today.

I took the same basic picture every day starting in early October, before the leaves really got started. Electrons are cheap! If I can figure out how, I'll try to make a slide show of every day's changes.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sparrows in the rain

Sparrows are always flitting in and out of the bush behind the fence. I got lucky to get a quick snap of these sitting on the fence itself.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Early morning forager

The leaves are all off this maple tree, but the seeds aren't, and the squirrels are out in force. It's pretty amazing how well they hang onto the branches and eat at the same time. It's sort of crazy to stand under them and have the discarded maple wings fall down all round you.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Turkeys at work

A small flock of wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) have been visiting us for about a week now and I finally had the camera at work. It's not the best picture; taken through the window in the rainy afternoon but I thought it interesting. They come to eat the fruits on the ornamental trees - I think they're some variety of tiny apple. I tried to get a shot of the turkeys up in the trees but I couldn't hold the camera still enough. I work in a very urban area, but as you can see, it doesn't take much cover to attract wildlife.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

St John's cemetery

St John's cemetery, on a foggy morning.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

HG Reist Wildlife Preserve

Pine trees growing in the HG Reist Wildlife Sanctuary in Niskayuna (just east of Schenectady proper.) It's a great place to go for a walk, dense trees and several decently marked paths. Poison ivy in the wet areas, but if you stay on the trails it isn't an issue. Saw a woodpecker but he didn't photograph very well with the point and shoot camera.

Here's where to find the Sanctuary. There's a small bit of parking at the north end, on Morgan Av.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

It's Election Day, the day Americans get to choose their leaders for the next couple of years. Not just the President, but all the local leaders like our county legislature, state Senate and Assembly, Federal Congressmen and Senators, local and state judges - there are so many layers of leaders to elect!

I was going to post a photo of the campaign signs that have sprouted out of so many lawns and intersections, but I bet many US CDP sites will do that. Then I thought about a photo of all the mail I got, some extolling the virtues of one candidate, some describing how vile his opponent is. Whilst arranging that shot, I came across this unique mailing. The stern looking gent is none other than Uncle Sam himself, the allegorical image of patriotism. Used in many patriotic banners and posters, the classic image is this poster for recruiting in the US Army in WW I. Here is a little bit about Uncle Sam, although it doesn't mention that 'Uncle Sam' Wilson was located in nearby Troy, NY.

Anyway, I saw this one and had to show it to you. I thought it creative compared to the rest of the lot.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Theme Day (one day late)

I am a day late.

This month's City Daily Photo theme is Books. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants in the theme day.

I completely forgot about theme day, I'm so thoughtless sometimes. At first, I took a shot of some of the strange titles I have here, but then it occurred to me that I ought to post something more appropriate to my location. I'm going to make an effort to visit each of the locations mentioned in the book. It'll be good for material to post here!

Following is a complete list of participants:
American Fork (UT), USA by Annie ~ Anderson (SC), USA by Lessie ~ Ararat, Australia by freefalling ~ Arradon, France by Alice ~ Ashton under Lyne, UK by Pennine ~ Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar ~ Aurora, South Africa by shelagh ~ Austin (TX), USA by LB ~ Avignon, France by Nathalie ~ Bali, Indonesia by Anak Dokan ~ Bandung, Indonesia by Eki Akhwan ~ Bandung, Indonesia by Bunyamin ~ Bandung, Indonesia by Harry Makertia ~ Bangkok, Thailand by UberSand ~ Barrow-in-Furness, UK by Enitharmon ~ Barton (VT), USA by Andree ~ Baziège, France by PaB ~ Belgrade, Serbia by Bibi ~ Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA ~ Birmingham (AL), USA by VJ ~ Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah ~ Boston (MA), USA by Ilse ~ Boston (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston ~ Boulder (CO), USA by A Sterling World ~ Budapest, Hungary by Isadora ~ Budapest, Hungary by Zannnie and Zsolt ~ Buenos Aires, Argentina by Karine ~ Canterbury, UK by Rose ~ Cavite, Philippines by Steven Que ~ Chandler (AZ), USA by PattheAZRealtor ~ Chapel Hill (NC), USA by missleah ~ Château-Gontier, France by Laurent ~ Chateaubriant, France by Bergson ~ Chateaubriant, France by trieulet ~ Cheltenham, UK by Marley ~ Chennai, India by Ram N ~ City of the Blue Mountains, Australia by Richard ~ Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic ~ Edinburgh, UK by Dido ~ Evry, France by Olivier ~ Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA by Gigi ~ Geneva (IL), USA by Kelly ~ Glasgow, Scotland by Jackie ~ Gliwice, Poland by prado&fio ~ Greenville (SC), USA by Denton ~ Grenoble, France by Bleeding Orange ~ Haninge, Sweden by Steffe ~ Helsinki, Finland by PPusa ~ Herne Bay, Great Britain by Han, Lil n Caz ~ Hobart, Australia by Greg ~ Honningsvag, Norway by J. ~ Islip (NY), USA by Bettye ~ Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon ~ Jakarta, Indonesia by Santy ~ Jeddah, Saudi Arabia by Susie of Arabia ~ Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005 ~ Juneau (AK), USA by Gwyn ~ Karwar, India by Yogesh ~ Knoxville (TN), USA by Knoxville Girl ~ Knoxville (TN), USA by hope ~ Lakewood (OH), USA by mouse ~ Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale ~ Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo ~ Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João ~ Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl ~ Lodz, Poland by wikiyu ~ London, UK by Ham ~ Madrid, Spain by Tr3nta ~ Mainz, Germany by JB ~ Manila, Philippines by Hilda ~ Manila, Philippines by Heyokity ~ Melbourne, Australia by John ~ Melbourne, Australia by Mblamo ~ Menton, France by Jilly ~ Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol ~ Middletown (MD), USA by Bernie ~ Milton, New Zealand by Milton Daily Photo ~ Milwaukee (WI), USA by karl ~ Minneapolis (MN), USA by snapshutter ~ Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch ~ Molfetta, Italy by saretta ~ Monrovia (CA), USA by Keith ~ Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly ~ Monterrey, Mexico by rafa ~ Montréal, Canada by My Life in Montreal ~ Moscow, Russia by Irina ~ Moscow (ID), USA by Sherry ~ Mumbai, India by Kunalbhatia ~ Mumbai, India by MumbaiiteAnu ~ Murcia, Spain by usuahia ~ Napa (CA), USA by katester ~ Nashville (TN), USA by Chris ~ Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben ~ New Delhi, India by Delhi Photo Diary ~ New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser ~ New York City (NY), USA by Ming the Merciless ~ New York City (NY), USA by Kitty ~ Norwich, UK by Goddess888 ~ Oklahoma City (OK), USA by ananda.tashie ~ Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla ~ Paderborn, Germany by Soemchen ~ Palos Verdes (CA), USA by tash ~ Paris, France by Eric ~ Paris, France by Elsa ~ Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben ~ Pasadena (CA), USA by Petrea ~ Pensacola (FL), USA by P J ~ Philadelphia (PA), USA by Stiffa ~ Phoenix (AZ), USA by Sharon ~ Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar ~ Port Elizabeth, South Africa by Sam ~ Port Townsend (WA), USA by raf ~ Prague, Czech Republic by Honza03 ~ Prague, Czech Republic by kakna ~ Quincy (MA), USA by slim ~ Ramsey, Isle of Man by babooshka ~ Reykjavik, Iceland by Vírgíll ~ Riga, Latvia by Riga Photos ~ Roanoke (VA), USA by Tanya ~ Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke ~ Rouen, France by Bbsato ~ Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter ~ Saigon, Vietnam by Simon ~ Saint Paul (MN), USA by Kate ~ Salem (OR), USA by jill ~ Salem (OR), USA by pearls ~ Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric ~ San Antonio (TX), USA by Kramer ~ San Francisco (CA), USA by Burd Zel Krai ~ San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson ~ Santa Fe (NM), USA by Randem ~ Seattle (WA), USA by Kim ~ Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck ~ Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound ~ Seoul, Korea South by SeoulSnapper ~ Seoul, South Korea by Phil ~ Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia ~ Silver Spring (MD), USA by John ~ Singapore, Singapore by Keropok ~ Singapore, Singapore by Zannnie ~ Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia ~ Springfield (IL), USA by Aubrey ~ Stanwood (WA), USA by MaryBeth ~ Stavanger, Norway by Tanty ~ Stayton (OR), USA by Celine ~ Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo ~ Stouffville, Canada by Ken ~ Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC ~ Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge ~ Sydney, Australia by Sally ~ Sydney, Australia by Ann ~ Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo ~ Tacloban City, Philippines by agnesdv ~ Tamarindo, Costa Rica by David ~ Tauranga, New Zealand by Lisa Sarsfield ~ Telluride (CO), USA by mtsrool ~ Tempe (AZ), USA by angie ~ Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K ~ Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas ~ Torino, Italy by Fabrizio ~ Torun, Poland by Glenn ~ Toulouse, France by Julia ~ Trieste, Italy by Rob&Piero ~ Turin, Italy by Livio ~ Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina by Jazzy ~ Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger ~ Verona, Italy by Valeria in Verona ~ Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2 ~ Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin ~ Washington (DC), USA by D.C. Confidential ~ Wellington, New Zealand by Jeremyb ~ West Paris (ME), USA by crittoria ~ West Sacramento (CA), USA by Barbara ~ Willits (CA), USA by Elaine ~ Woerden, Netherlands by Marcel ~ Yakima (WA), USA by katney ~ Yellowknife, Canada by Arctic Dreamer ~ York, UK by Ruby in York

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween costume

Yours truly wearing my home made Halloween costume. Yes, it's a Star Trek, the Next Generation uniform. Pretty much tells you everything you need to know about me, doesn't it?

Friday, October 31, 2008

October dawn

I thought this appropriately spooky for Halloween, it's dark, the leaves are almost gone and it even looks cold. Well it should - it was below freezing when I took this photo. A typical late October morning.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Christmas cactus

My Christmas cactus always bloom this time of year. Preparing for this post, I looked them up and found that there are apparently a slew of plants variously called Holiday cactus, christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus and even Easter cactus! Various care articles indicate that to get them to bloom you need to chill them for weeks or let them have complete darkness at night - no artificial lights at all. Mine bloom madly on their own schedule, usually after I give them a good slug of water when the weather turns cool and the heat comes on. They seem ridiculously easy to care for, unlike what the experts seem to say.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

General Electric

Taken from the car as we were driving west on I-890. This is the GE main plant in Schenectady, the iconic building on a rainy day. That sign is illuminated with hundreds, maybe thousands of individual light bulbs, and they are changed around this time of year to a red - white - green scheme for the holidays. I'm going to try to get a photo at night if it ever stops raining...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vertigo, with sunlight

An accidental artsy shot. Mucking about with the camera on manual, playing with the aperture (to manipulate the depth of field) when I saw the bricks side-lit by the morning sun.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Catalpa tree

This is the same catalpa tree I photographed in July. First to lose its leaves, right on schedule. The part that looks like foliage is a maple tree behind the catalpa.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Leaves and rain

Taken at the end of my driveway. It was raining; enough that there was a current carrying leaf litter down the street. It caught my eye for some reason and here it is, a memory from my childhood schoolboy, walking to school in October.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar

Walking through the woods, saw this fellow(?) on a leaf on the forest floor. Had to do some research to find out that it is an example of Lophocampa caryae, the Hickory Tussock Moth. It was a cool day, so he was very cooperative. Although I've never had an issue, apparently some people get a rash after handling these fellows.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tree before the frost

This tree is in a neighbour's yard. The colours are just coming in. The frost will kick this maple tree's shedding reflex very soon and I'll post a companion photo when it does.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Autumn marigolds

The marigolds are pretty hardy, and they still look great with the falling leaves at their feet. I harvest their seed heads for next year and they never fail to please.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Had a hard frost; first of the year. Managed to get a few photos before the sun melted it. Morning temperature still below freezing, so this is the end of the delicate flowers and vegetables.

This particular plant is a wild geranium and it will stick around for another week or so.

Monday, October 20, 2008

White cat

He was sitting in the window enjoying the sunlight (a very feline sort of pleasure) and I found I couldn't fool the camera well enough to take his photo. He is all white, after all, and the auto-exposure just wasn't working the way I wanted. Anyway, I thought if I could get him to turn my way I'd give the camera a bit of contrast to work with. Caught him in motion. Several times. I decided to stop pestering him and let him enjoy the sun in peace.

Although blurry, I like the effect.

Yes, he has two different coloured eyes.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


A single leaf on my sidewalk. I liked the colout and how it landed next to the exhausted blade of grass. Many more of its companions will soon follow!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Driving west on Interstate 890, just past the Broadway exit. St Adalbert's church off of Crane St is one of the highest spires in the city. You can see it almost anywhere, and it's such a familiar sight I just had to post it.

No, I wasn't driving and photographing at the same time! I was the passenger.
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