Are you a parent? Do you have a camera? Will you be taking photos of your kids this summer? Then you've got to join our Summer Photo Project and our Summer Photo Bingo! 

Ice cream faces, muddy knees, sprinkler high jumps, beach days, park days, flower fields, paddling pools,  bike races, picknics in the park - SUMMER is all about fun for the little ones! Join in the fun with the camera and capture their summer beautifully!

We're here to help!

 

Join our FREE Summer Photo Project

and get clicking


✔️ weekly lessons with a wealth of tips and inspiration for photographing your family in summer

✔️ tips and techniques of how to capture these moments best ( how to use composition and your camera settings for the best impact )

✔️ brilliant Facebook group to keep you going through the summer

✔️ weekly Summer Photo Bingo challenge to help you focus and grow your photography

✔️ LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of photo inspiration for any camera, level and ability!



Wait, did you say BINGO?

Yup, a printable weekly sheet full of photo prompts for you or your kids to tick off to GUARANTEE a summer's worth of varied, fun, exciting images at the end of August. 

Parents love it, because it gives you something to focus on. Kids love it because - well - it's a bit like a game! 

'It's like a Mummy's treasure trail!'

If you join us, you  could be capturing photos like these: 


3 more reasons to join us: 


1. HANDS ON LEARNING

Because NOBODY learns just by watching. The format of the Summer project is very much about having a go - whether you're a complete beginner or further along in your photo journey. Every week will come with a specific photo challenge so you'll know exactly what to focus on - and have some fabulous photos to cherish at the end. 

2. PLENTY OF SUPPORT

You will be joining our dedicated FB group where you'll be able to share your photos, get advice, ask for help and get inspired by your fellow bootcampers.

3. IT'S FREE!

Free, no charge, gratis, no tie-ins, nothing. Just click on and join the fun! 

How to join us:

1. Click on one of the buttons below to be redirected to a registration page

2. Complete the registration  - if you are an existing or past student, you need to enter the email you already have registered with us. If you're new to us, you'll need to set up a learning profile on our site - don;t worry - it's free 🙂 

3. You'll be redirected to our learning pages instantly - jump right in ( and don't forget to join our Facebook group as well - there will be additional resources added there!) 

This category includes our current and past students on paying online courses as well as past bootcamp participants - in short those who already have an account registered on our Learning site.

It does NOT include those who just downloaded our freebies or took our self-paced email based courses.

If you're never attended any of our courses ( even if you joined our free email based course) this is a category for you. As part of the registration we will be creating you a brand new account on our learning pages which you'll need to access the material.

lets have some fun!


Fake smiles - be gone!

Awkward poses - no more! 

Boring photos - never again!

We're bringing the FUN back to photography!

THE BEST childhood photos are those that make you smile. The ones that want to brurst out of the frame for all the joy and happiness they spark. The ones that show TRUE emotions!

You know what I mean - belly laughs, not stilted half smiles,  armes spread with joy, little feet leaping off the ground, imagination and creativity at their best.

If 'Smile for Mummy!' is not working for you, we've got something else - a mini online photo course that's all about fun


✔️ we'll give you ideas for capturing genuine moments of fun and joy  (and ideas for fun things to try with different kids ages!) 

✔️ we'll give you tips and techniques of how to capture these moments best ( how to use composition and your camera settings for the best impact

✔️ we'll show you how to use body language, colour, props and storytelling to create photos that SCREAM fun

✔️ we'll talk to you about how to be in the moment and notice the loud and quiet joys in your children's lives

✔️ we'll encourage you to get in on the action and get into the photos yourself

 


photographing joy

starts Monday 27th May

AND IT'S FREE!

  • 5 daily lessons covering different ways of capturing the joy of childhood - from colour, movement, body language, light to storytelling, and more! 
  • Support Facebook group so you're never left to your own devices with unanswered questions
  • A CHANCE TO WIN our full flagship online Photography course! JUST for taking part!


Is this for you?

Are you a parent? Do you have a camera? Then the answer is YES

While our full paying courses cover both the technical and more compositional elements, our bootcamps are for anybody, of any ability! 

Because what you could be doing, is capturing photos like these: 


5 more reasons to join us: 


1. HANDS ON LEARNING

Because NOBODY learns just by watching. The format of the bootcamp is very much about having a go - whether you're a complete beginner or further along in your photo journey. Every day will come with a specific photo challenge so you'll know exactly what to focus on - and have some JOYFUL photos to cherish at the end. 

2. PLENTY OF SUPPORT

You will be joining our dedicated FB group where you'll be able to share your photos, get advice, ask for help and get inspired by your fellow bootcampers.

3. BABIES AND BEYOND

Maybe you have a baby, maybe your kids are at school - their smiles, their cuddles still melt your heart - you'll get to photograph both in our bootcamp

4. IT'S FREE!

Free, no charge, gratis, no tie-ins, nothing. We make no mystery of doing this bootcamp to show you how much fun you could have in our 'full' courses but there is absolutely no pressure to sign up! A tasty taster.

5. WIN OUR FLAGSHIP ONLINE COURSE!

Yes, you can win our Flagship online Photography course ( value £229) JUST for taking part. AT the end of the course we will draw a lucky winner who will get their pick of our online courses. It's that simple. 

How to join us:

1. Click on one of the buttons below to be redirected to a registration page

2. Complete the registration  - if you are an existing or past student, you need to enter the email you already have registered with us. If you're new to us, you'll need to set up a learning profile on our site - don;t worry - it's free 🙂 

3. Await confirmation email and get your camera ready for the course start! 

This category includes our current and past students on paying online courses as well as past bootcamp participants - in short those who already have an account registered on our Learning site.

It does NOT include those who just downloaded our freebies or took our self-paced email based courses.

If you're never attended any of our courses ( even if you joined our free email based course) this is a category for you. As part of the registration we will be creating you a brand new account on our learning pages which you'll need to access the material.

lets have some fun!

In the last post we explored a few different way in which you could approach photographing an egg. Today - we have a fewmore for you! 

This one egg is not like the other...

This composition principle can otherwise be called 'pattern disruption' but come on - doesn't mine just roll off the tongue? 

The idea is that as we look at anything, we are pre-wired to look out for things that might potentially be important to us, carry some information, or just be different enough from the rest to 'mean' something. 

So if you create a repeating pattern, and then replace one of the pattern elements with something else, you are drawing the viewer's attention to that particular thing, and that's what makes it stronger and makes it stand out. 

This photographic principle is really widely used - once you know it, you start noticing in lots of places! 


Strength in numbers:

If you want to highlight multiple subjects and not necessarily only draw attention to one single 'thing', you could consider grouping objects. There are generally three ways to do it : 

Like with like 

when your objects are pretty much the same - grouping them together can make for a more dynamic composition, especially if you set their 'sameness' against a contrasting backgound.

Opposites attract

We're going here for drawing attention to what makes the subjects different, while still showing they have commonalities - such as shape for instance! 

Alike but different:

when the subjects in question are 'nearly' the same, but not quite and it's those minute differences that make them interesting

Now, WHICH of the three approaches you choose depends entorely in the subjects you have and what's important to the story. It's fun to play around! 


The broken egg

'You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs' goes the old saying. 

As much as eggs are beautiful objects, ultimately, what we want from them is to be yummy. And to show that I'm afraid it will reguire us to break them. 

Here is something that food photographers know well - we respond more to photos of objects which display some sort of tension.

Maybe they promise some action and make us want to respond to it - like watching a drip of yolk bursting over the edge of the egg and about to make it's way down ( which makes us want to catch it.

Maybe they simply imply that something has happened that altered the state of the object, which makes our subconscious brain wonder - what happened? why? Like showing an egg that's a little craked - who did it? can we peel it now? what's hiding inside? 

Sometimes just a simple action of placing an instrument of 'threatened destruction' - like putting a knife next to an otherwise perfectly fine objects will create a response in our brain.

In short, when it comes to food photography, don;t be afraid to break a few eggs...


Have you read part 1 of our guide?

It's HERE - How to phhotograph an egg part 1


How did you like our little mini-egg series? And did it inspire you to capture some photos of your own? 

If so, you should DEFINITELY be intering our Easter Egg photo competition! Ends Monday !


PHOTO COMPETITION !!!

You have a chance for to win a place on one of our online photography courses! 


All you have to do is to take a photo of an egg ( any egg - chocolate, fried, hatching)  and post it to Instagram or on our Facebook Page , tagging us in, at any time between now and end of Monday 22nd April. 


You MUST tag us in (otherwise we won't know to include it in the draw) and hashtag  #photoparentsegg

 

The winner will be picked at random on Tuesday 23rd April

We have a little Easter treat for you!  There is no Easter without eggs and so today, we'll give you a little tutorial on how to photograph the humble egg.

In this, and a couple other tutorials following in the next few days, we'll be showing you a few differenet ways to capture THE EGG, paying attention to a number of different composition principles and style conventions. 

Today, we're giving you a few examples on how light can affect the way that your egg looks and how to achieve it without studio lights, constly props etc. 


Let's start simply: 

The minimalist egg

White egg ( mine was duck's ) on white plate, and white background. Pure simplicity. Nothing there to distract from the oval beauty of the egg. 

What I did:

I placed the egg and the other props by a window with indirect natural light coming in. That means, the sun was not directly opposite the window, so the light was gentle, rather than harsh. 

I used a white foamboard as a background placed on the table and put a simple white plate on it. Then I placed the egg on one of the edges of the plate and composed so that I could capture a fragment of the plate in such a way that the curve of the plate creates a partial frame, bringing the eye to the egg. 

All elements - the backdrop, the plate and the egg were white - allbeing in slightly different shades of white - this allowed me to create a minimalist, shades of white image that uses shapes as its main composition principle. 

I used solely natural light from the window - the gentle light created only gentle, wrap-around shadows which highlighted the eggy shape and made the egg look three dimensional rather than flat but were not too harsh at the same time. 

I experimented with reducing the shadows by bringing another foamboard to the side of the picture, but found that the added extra light didn't work out in this composition - it took too much of the shadow away and made the composition look flat. 

Important note on exposure. The images you are seeing are SOOC ( straight out of camera) = no editing beyond a gentle crop. To make sure I got the right look and the right exposure in this white on white on white image, I ended up overexposing by 2 exposure stops - otherwise the image was looking very ashen. I did that in manual, but if you're shooting in semi-auto modes, you can use the exposure compenation button. 


The drama egg

Just as our last photo relied on small and gentle shadows, this one takes full advantage of more dramatic light to highlight the egg's texture ( I just loved how freckly it was ) and shape. The shadows are deep and sharp, the backdrop inpenetrably black. The light shines and reflects of the shiny egg, giving it a bit of a sheen. 

What I did:

This is a tale of 3 black tshirts which I used to 'dress' my white foamboards. My egg was placed in virtually the same place as in the last picture, with the window by its side, slightly elevated compared to the plate I used previously. 

I then used the curtains to narrow down the beam of light coming onto the egg - I wanted the light to be coming from one direction only and since it was overcast and all I had was indirect light ( which worked so well in the previous image) - I needed a way to shape it a little. 

I dressed my whiteboards in the black Tshirts and placed one behind the egg and one on the side facing the light. By using a dark surface there, it meant that the light which would be hitting it from the window would be absorbed and not reflected back onto the egg, allowing me to shape the light more precisely. I used the third Tshirt to drape over a little box the egg was resting on. 

How is the egg staying up? Bluetac and a match placed strategically behind it. 

Composition wise, I used an approximation of the rule of thirds and allowed more space on the side the light was coming from. 

From exposure point of view, the same way as our cameras make white look ashen, they make black look a little more charcoal like. But I wanted black-black and a good contrast with the shiny part of the egg.  So I ended up underexposing by -1.7 stop to make it look just right. The image above is again unedited, straight out of camera. 


The double egg

This, to a degree is a version of the Drama egg from above. 

I used to intertwined forks to create a little seat for the egg and placed them on a shiny surface. I wanted an uninterrupted black background but to achieve it, I had to improvise. The only shiny black surface I could find in my house was the surface of the cooker. I used my black tshirts draped over my foamboards again, this time using 3 of them and creating a mini booth for the egg so that I could direct the light to come from one direction only to limit the glare on the cooker surface. 

I was careful to compose in a way that highlights the symmetry of the composition.

Exposure wise, I had to underexpose again to make sure my black background showed up as true black. 


I did perform one small edit after downloading the images from my camera. Due to the nature of my shiny surface ( - working cooker!) , I couldn't get away from the white markings ( to regulate hobs and temperature)  and they showed up in the original image. I used adjustment brush in Lightroom to get rid of them. See the photo of my set up and the  unedited image below - the white markings are showing in the bottom right part of the frame.

If you enjoyed this little round up of ways to photograph an egg, you'll be delighted to find out we have a couple more to come over the next few days! 


PHOTO COMPETITION !!!

You have a chance for to win a place on one of our online photography courses! 


All you have to do is to take a photo of an egg ( any egg - chocolate, fried, hatching)  and post it to Instagram or on our Facebook Page , tagging us in, at any time between now and end of Monday 22nd April. 


You MUST tag us in (otherwise we won't know to include it in the draw) and hashtag  #photoparentsegg

 

The winner will be picked at random on Tuesday 23rd April




“Did you SEE that Mummy! We can go an build a snowman! And play snowballs and …”

Here are out 10 top things to do if you want your snow photos to look beautiful.  Illustrated by our very own students photos!

Before you go anywhere – take steps to protect your camera.

Snow is water and water is your camera’s enemy so make sure you don’t let it into your camera. How? While there are some dedicated camera sleeves and protectors out there, a humble thin plastic bag wrapped around it will do the job just as well. Cling film will work too! Oh and remember that batteries deplete much faster in the cold so make sure your is charged fully and ideally, have a spare somewhere warm! ( like your pockets )

Change your White Balance to ‘cloudy’ or ‘shade’

Your camera doesn’t really understand pure white ( and pure black for that matter ). Because of that, it tries to bring it down to a pale shade of grey and we all know how attractive grey snow looks. If you leave it to its own devices, the effect will be greyish, blueish photos. Changing your White Balance ( WB) – warmifies the image, making it closer to how we perceive it. Where to find it? – Look for either a button with WB on it or a setting in your camera.

Overexpose.

I know, counter-intuitive, but hear me out. This is again down to the whole not understanding white thing and trying to bring it back to grey which essentially ‘dims’ the picture. Find a button on your camera with a +/- on it ( that’s your exposure compensation button) and use the scroll wheel ( if you’re on DSLR – this might differ for bridge cameras) to push the meter towards +1. Take a few test pictures to double check and adjust as necessary but you should find them looking better than on ‘correct’ setting. Just don’t forget to bring it back to zero later!


Keep your shutter speed fast for pictures of falling snow unless you want them to look like lines.

Start from 1/250s and adjust upwards if necessary to preserve the roundness of the falling snow flakes. Go even faster for the obligatory snowball fight  of course! Just make sure your camera is nice and safe (snow = water = trouble)

Photo by Lisa Friday

Think of your background and foreground.

Want to make it clear in the picture the snow is falling around your subject? Make sure your background has something dark in it ( trees are good) so that the bright snow flakes have something to stand out against. Using a shallow depth of field will help to blur some of the snowflakes in the front creating a layer of depth.

Photo by Claire Fay

Shoot the action

Being out in the snow is all about having fun – whether it’s wild tobogan rides, building a snowman or a snowball fight – make sure you get right there with your camera. Catch the snow flying, the tobogans flipping, the cheeks rosy from frost and  eyes sparkling with laughter.

Photos by Karen Baker, Sarah Honey, Sarah Collins and Ruth Harvey

Notice the light

If you’re having one of those wonderful snowy/sunny days you’re in such luck! The sun makes the snow sparkle, shine and shimmer – it brings extra magic in and can easily take your photos from ‘meh’ to AMAZING! Let the sun backlight the icicles, highlight the flying snow, reflect from the snow. And sometimes, all you need is a little creativity as one of our students has shown with the help of a security light!

Photo by Teresa Foyster

Think of the larger picture as well

Head out to the park or a wide open space and show the beauty and calm of the snowscape. If your child is wearing contrasting colour – even better – it will make them stand out against the background and draw the eye. Take a family portrait in the middle of a winter wonderland – all it takes is being able to put your camera down no something and self timer!

Photos By Kerry Anderson, Amanda Vickers and Ruth Harvey

But don’t forget to focus on the details

The wonders of winter lie in the details too – the snowflakes landing on the eyelashes, the icicles sparkling in the sun, the state of your son’s gloves after building the snowman. Don’t forget to get in nice and close to capture those details.

Photo By Amanda Vickers

Too cold to go out?

The falling snow is beautiful to watch from the inside too! Just because you’re indoors, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it!

And above all – have fun!

 

MORE SNOW PHOTOS BY OUR STUDENTS!

oct2014_holly_park-210

A few times a year, Mother nature creates the perfect conditions to capture stunning, truly memorable images. It just suddenly gets generous with colour and light and textures and makes it almost a sin not to try and capture all this beauty. These perfect windows of opportunity don’t last long but when they do, you should absolutely make sure to try and make it out to get shooting.

Autumn, especially at the peak of the season is one of those times. It just looks so pretty – the multitude of rich and saturated colours trying to make up for the fact the summer is gone. But blink it, and you miss it, so time is of the essence. After all, you want to capture the rich, saturated glory, not the sad, crumpled browns.. ( well, actually hold that thought, because you might find those worth of a few photos too). Wondering if you missed your window? Look outside – if you still see some trees with green or otherwise coloured leaves, you’re still on time. Just don’t delay it any longer.

So what to photograph? And how?

1. The autumnal portrait with soft, dreamy background:

autumn_2014-173

The kind of photos people tend to comment about when it comes to autumn, are those with a soft, dreamy, delicate background. And for good reason – a curtain of colourful leaves turned into a soft backdrops makes people really stand out and adds instant WOW factor to your images. But there is a skill in capturing pictures like these and we’re about to break to you exactly how to get what you want.

What we want to achieve is a  lovely head and shoulders portraiture with a soft, dreamy, colourful background.

How to achieve this effect:

  1. Find a bush or a tree with some lovely colour on it.
  2. If you’ve not really explored your manual camera settings, put your camera on Portrait mode. If you know what you’re doing – Aperture Priority or full Manual with as wide an aperture setting as you can get – F1.8 would be great here, but if not, just pick the lowest you have.
  3. Unless you have a very wide aperture setting, you will want to make sure that your child is not standing right by your colourful tree, but at least few feet away. Better still, pick a tree  at a bit of a distance from your child and frame the image from such an angle that their head looks set against the backdrop of the tree. More distance between your child and the background helps create a greater degree of blur to your background. 
  4. Now you need to stand a few feet away too and if your lens allows it, zoom in on your child (if you’re more technically advanced, you will want a Focal Length of at least 50mm or more). Please bear in mind that you don’t want to be too far from your child either – when zoomed in, you want the child’s face to fill approx no less than 1/3 – 1/2 of the entire frame, maybe even a little more. Yes, you can achieve it without zooming in, but trust us, you’ll get much better results if you do.
  5. Make sure the focus is definitely set on your child’s face and take the picture. If you’re not sure if your camera is getting the focus on your child, look for little light-up dots or squares on your screen or through your viewfinder as you take the photo.Voila!

2. Fun with the crunchy, fallen leaves

 

oct2014_holly_park-146

The key to capturing these kind of images is making sure that the leaves flying in the air are captured nice and sharp and that they are actually visible against the background. In order to achieve it, you need to ensure that you’re in the right position and that the photos can be taken quickly enough.

If you’re using your camera on auto, select a Sports mode ( or similar) – your camera on that mode is pre-set to take the photos quickly and ( at least for some cameras ) that the potential camera shake is minimised. The faster you ‘re able to take the photo, the more chance of the leaves appearing pin sharp and crisp 🙂

If you’re using your camera on semi-manual settings, such as Shutter or Aperture priority, select the Shutter priority setting and make sure that it is set to a minimum 1/250s and preferably faster. being outside, with generally a good quantity and quality of light, this should be relatively easy, but if your camera is struggling, increase your ISO to 400 or even 800 if needed.

If you want both your subject and the leaves to be sharp, they should be both within the same distance from you – so, if your child is throwing the leaves up, or to it’s side, you’ll catch them both sharp. But if your child is throwing the leaves towards or away from you and as a result one of the two will be further or closer to you than the other, chances are, they won’t both be sharp. Not always a bad thing, but worth remembering!

3. Just having a bit of a laugh!

oct2014_holly_park-49

In my experience, there is (almost) nothing that kids hate more than being asked to stand or sit still, waiting to be photographed, whilst Mum or Dad spends ages fiddling with the camera. Even if they oblige to begin with, they’re quickly bored and want to go and just have fun.

So my advice is – let them. No, scratch that – encourage them and have fun with them – you’re bound to get much better photos and kids that’ll cooperate with your photo demands more readily in the future. And if the photos aren’t perfect – oh well, I guarantee they’ll still make you smile!

 

WANT TO LEARN MORE? 

Join our photography classes – in LONDON and ONLINE Click on the images below to find out more! 

London classes

online_classes

Want to capture your kids under water? Not as hard as it looks! We explore equipment options, technique and composition – ready? Splash!

Capturing beautiful and simple images of your baby needn’t be hard and complicated and it doesn’t need to include lots of fussy props. This guide is non-technical and instead focuses on simple instructions you can follow with any camera.

 

 

Are you getting out there with your camera today?

If you want to make the most of the bluebells while they’re still in full bloom, here are our best tips for seriously beautiful photos:

An important caveat here : bluebells are an ancient wildflower but they can be vulnerable to habitat destruction so make sure that when you go exploring your local woods, you cause as little harm to them as possible = don’t pick, don’t trample, leave them as little disturbed as possible. 

 

1. You want LOTS of them

Pick an area where the bluebells are nice and dense – the strength of a flower carpet is in the sheer volume of the photos – give yourself the best advantage by finding somewhere that has an abundance of flowers! Here is some help finding bluebells near you from the Woodland Trust. Our student Sarah Gannon used the abundance of flowers beautifully – by focusing on the logs in the front, she made the bluebells melt into background, creating a beautiful scene, rich in colour and with subtle texture.

Sarah_Gannon_bluebells

Photo by student Sarah Gannon

2. Think big picture

Before you zoom in on the photos, consider the overall magical scene with the gorgeous flower carpet that’s painted in front of you and shoot that as well – make your photos high and wide, choose a wide angle focal length and picture the whole scene.

bluebell_woods_2013-31-2

3. aaaand the detail

Once you’ve got those wide images, don’t forget to explore the delicate nature of the flowers by going closer in and creating tighter frames. Putting the wider shot and the detail together can give you a really beautiful collage.

DSC_0403-2

 

4. Get your angles right

Most people shoot from where they stand, without varying the height of the angle and you can make such a difference by getting a bit lower to the ground, you know, where your subject is. Try shooting low, at around the flower height, get your kids to crouch down or sit down amongst the flowers to get the most of it. By shooting low,  you allow yourself to develop a good depth in the photo, almost multiplying the volume of the flowers. Shooting from above and into the ground takes away the sense of flower abundance. In the photo below, the little girl is crouching among the flowers with some at the front being out of focus and some lovely and sharp ( for those of you comfortable around a camera, that’s playing with a shallow depth of field)

bluebell_woods_2013-79

5. Bluebells as foreground

Don’t just think of the bluebells as a gorgeous background. Bringing them to the front and either keeping them sharp and your subjects blurry or just using them as a bit of a blurry background can bring a real 3D dimension to your images, lifting them from ordinary, to something a bit more special. Our student Valsa Shah kept the bluebells sharp in the foreground which adds lovely texture to the image. The silhouette of father and a daughter in the background has the perfect blur which means our eyes don’t go there first, focusing on the flowers instead, but at the same time it’s delicate enough to make it clear who they are.

photo by student Valsa Shah

photo by student Valsa Shah

 

 

 

Camera settings:

Choose a shallow depth of field for creating varied texture in the images – ideally you want some flower details around your subject that further melt into the background into a blur of colour and light. You can create it either by picking a wide aperture ( the smallest possible number on your camera), getting close to your subject and zooming in ( ideally all 3 ). Don’t just think background when it comes to creating a texture in the photo – shooting through the flowers brings in a great candid dimension to the photos.

And above all – have fun and mess around with your kids – let them play and  capture the joy! Get them to hide behind logs and flowers and examine the flowers from up close! Play pick-a-boo behind the flowers and encourage them to explore by themselves. When they have fun, beautiful photo opportunities will always follow – you just need to capture them!

Happy snapping!

Want to learn more of what your camera can do? Check out our photography courses, designed especially for Mums and Dads with a passion for photographing their families – just like you! Pick from face-to face, London based classes and Online workshops.

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London classes

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