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MPB: Photography Kit That Doesn’t Have To Cost The Earth This Christmas

MPB: Photography Kit That Doesn't Have To Cost The Earth This Christmas

With MPB, you can gift the photographer in your life a camera or lens that doesn’t cost a fortune but will bring them hobby joy!

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Yes, we’re talking about the big ‘C’ word and for once, we don’t mean Covid! Christmas is not that far away so now’s the perfect time to start thinking about gifts for friends, family, loved ones and don’t forget yourself!

Did you know that the majority of photographers are inspired to get into photography by receiving a camera as a gift? No, we didn’t either but if you want to nudge someone in the direction of a photography hobby then Christmas might be the ideal time to do it. However, a problem many come across is the price of a camera/lens as they can be rather expensive and as a result, turn into a rather extravagant gift. In fact, research suggests that 66% of people believe the cost of kit is the primary barrier for people who want to get into photography but MPB want to bring down the barriers by encouraging consumers to buy second-hand. 

 “MPB wants to encourage consumers to give a present that is good for the planet as well as the wallet, and gift used this year,” MPB.

Photography as a hobby doesn’t have to cost a fortune or the earth and MPB offers used cameras and lenses in perfect working condition for as little as £34.

Whether you’re buying for a student looking for something more professional or a loved one who loves family photography – MPB has thousands of products for all skill levels.

Here are MPB’s top gifting recommendations for both professionals and beginners this Christmas:

 

 

If you have more cash to spend then a kit pairing such as the Nikon D750 with the Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G IF-ED could be the ideal present for the photographer in your like. Ideal setup for an advanced photographer who wants to cover most needs in terms of focal length and performance. The Nikon D750 Digital SLR Camera sets a benchmark for DSLR technology. The impressive mix of technology and performance makes it an agile camera ready for any scenario. Paired with Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G IF-ED – its versatility makes it a hit with all professionals, and a vital tool for any photographer’s kit.

To shop more products, visit the MPB website where you can also trade in your own kit. 

Shop Used Cameras & Lenses On MPB

 

 


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SpaceX Astronaut Captures Stellar Photo of Earth, Shot on iPhone

SpaceX Astronaut Captures Stellar Photo of Earth, Shot on iPhone

SpaceX Astronaut Captures Stellar Photo of Earth, Shot on iPhone 1

The first few images released by the SpaceX team were shot with a Nikon DSLR, but the images shared in the most recent drop by mission commander Jared Isaacman were captured using an iPhone 12.

The crew of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 has started sharing some images and videos captured from space during the company’s world’s first civilian orbital mission last month.

As spotted by Digital Trends, the image shared by Isaacman were captured with his smartphone through the all-glass dome that sits underneath the nose cone of the Crew Dragon spacecraft that was the teams home during their three-day journey in orbit or Earth.

SpaceX Astronaut Captures Stellar Photo of Earth, Shot on iPhone 2
Photo by Jared Isaacman

The nose cone, which is seen in the top right corner of the image above that was shared by Isaacman, opens up once the craft is in space to offer the crew on board an incredible panoramic view of planet Earth (and space) through the glass dome. From there, the crew captured over 700 photos and video clips at a distance of 357 miles (575 kilometers) above the planet’s surface, making them images that have been captured from farther away from the planet than even the ones NASA astronauts have shared from the International Space Station.

In addition to the still photo, Isaccman had also published a short video clip from the journey in late September that was also shot on the iPhone 12 while he and the crew were drifting over Brazil.

“Such a privilege to see our planet from this perspective,” he writes. “We need to take far better care of our home planet and also reaching for the stars.”

There are currently four pages of images on the Inspiration4 Flickr Page with hundreds more planned to be shared there and on the organization’s official Twitter account. It remains to be seen if there will be more images only shot with iPhone and Nikon DSLRs, or if the public will be treated to images captured on a wider range of devices.

For those interested in learning more about what it’s like to shoot photos from space, be sure to read a previous story with Chris Hadfield that features an inside look at the task.


Image credits: Header photo by Inspiration4 mission commander Jared Isaacman via Creative Commons.

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SpaceX Crew Shares Gorgeous Earth Image Shot on iPhone

SpaceX Crew Shares Gorgeous Earth Image Shot on iPhone

SpaceX’s Inspiration4 crew, which last month completed the world’s first all-civilian orbital mission, recently started sharing some incredible Earth images shot with a top-end Nikon camera.

But at the weekend mission commander Jared Isaacman dropped another stunning shot (below), this one captured with an iPhone 12.

A photo of Earth shot from space using an iPhone 12.
SpaceX/Inspiration4

Apple is known to offer some of the best camera technology in the smartphone industry, so the excellent image quality offered by the phone’s camera from 357 miles (575 kilometers) above Earth comes as little surprise.

Isaacman shot the picture through the all-glass dome built beneath the nose cone of the Crew Dragon spacecraft that was home to the four non-professional astronauts during their three days in orbit.

Once in space, the nose cone, which is clearly visible in the top right of Isaacman’s photo, opens up to offer passengers panoramic views of Earth through the glass dome.

Isaacman also posted a video while flying over Brazil, again captured with the iPhone 12.

A video over Brazil from first day on orbit. Shot w/iPhone but hopefully we can get some of ⁦@inspiration4x⁩ Nikon shots out soon. Such a privilege to see our 🌎 from this perspective. We need to take far better care of our home planet and also reaching for the stars. pic.twitter.com/mAQw6eK8Ui

— Jared Isaacman (@rookisaacman) September 25, 2021

In the coming weeks, the crew is expected to share more images and videos shot with the iPhone and Nikon cameras, offering earthlings more extraordinary views of Earth captured from a unique vantage point that’s even higher than the International Space Station.

Of course, Apple isn’t the only tech company to offer a smartphone with an outstanding camera system. Samsung, for example, has been playing its part in pushing smartphone camera technology to its limit, with the Galaxy S21 Ultra gaining high praise from critics.

Keen to see how the camera on Apple’s new iPhone 13 compared with the performance of Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra, Digital Trends conducted a detailed head-to-head to see which one came out on top. Check out the results for yourself.

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Breathtaking Photos of Earth Were Taken From Even Higher Than the ISS

Breathtaking Photos of Earth Were Taken From Even Higher Than the ISS

Breathtaking Photos of Earth Were Taken From Even Higher Than the ISS 3

NASA astronauts regularly share beautiful images of Earth captured from space. However, a recent batch of photos captured from an even higher orbit than the International Space Station (ISS) provides an even more astonishing view of planet Earth.

As spotted by Digital Trends, the images shared from the world’s first entirely civilian space mission aboard SpaceX’s Inspiration4 earlier this month are nothing short of spectacular.

“When you look up at the sky, you dream about being among the stars. When you’re with the stars and look down, you dream about being back on the earth” said crew member Chris Sembroski

The team aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft have already shared a plethora of images from their time in orbit, however, this new batch of images is the first to be released that were taken with a professional camera system, allowing for a whole new level of detail and clarity to be seen. The images were captured through the new all-glass dome on the spacecraft while the Inspiration4 orbited the Earth at a height of 357 miles (575 kilometers), which places it about 100 miles farther from our planet than the ISS.

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The glass dome provided the crew with a panoramic view of the planet, allowing for some rather incredible images to be captured during the time in orbit. SpaceX even posted a photo of Sembroski shooting some of the images through the dome.

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SpaceX

According to Jared Isaacman, the commander of the mission, the team has approximately 700 images captured with the crew’s Nikon DSLR system that will be shared over the coming weeks on the Inspiration4 Twitter account and Flickr.

For those interested in learning more about what it’s like to shoot photos from space, be sure to read a previous story with Chris Hadfield that features an inside look at the task.


Image credits: Photos by Inspiration4 crew via Creative Commons.

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Check Out These Cool Earth Images Taken From Higher Than ISS

Check Out These Cool Earth Images Taken From Higher Than ISS

We’re so often impressed by the amazing images of Earth captured by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), but the latest photos to come to our attention were taken from an even higher orbit and therefore show our planet from a slightly different — and perhaps more beautiful — perspective.

The pictures were captured during the world’s first all-civilian space mission operated by SpaceX earlier this month.

While the four crewmembers have already shared lots of images and videos from their three days in orbit aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft, the latest images (below) to be shared were taken with a professional DSLR camera and therefore feature a new level of astonishing detail.

“When you look up at the sky, you dream about being among the stars. When you’re with the stars and look down, you dream about being back on the earth.” — @ChrisSembroski

More stunning photos from our #Inspiration4 crew’s three-day journey to orbit 🌎 pic.twitter.com/ppZhzNJkQI

— Inspiration4 (@inspiration4x) September 29, 2021

During the Inspiration4 mission, the crew orbited 357 miles above Earth (575 kilometers), a position about 100 miles further away from our planet than the ISS.

The four crew members were able to capture photos through the spacecraft’s new all-glass dome that afforded panoramic views of Earth and beyond.

An onboard camera captured crewmember Chris Sembroski pointing his camera out of the dome to grab a shot of the vista outside.

Chris Sembroski taking a photo from the Crew Dragon's cupola.
SpaceX

Jared Isaacman, the commander of the Inspiration4 mission, said they have about 700 photos to share that were taken with the crew’s professional Nikon camera, so we should be in for a real treat in the coming weeks as additional images appear online.

For more on the groundbreaking Inspiration4 mission, which was essentially SpaceX’s first space tourism endeavor, check out this Digital Trends feature showing the best bits from launch to landing.

And if you’d like a behind-the-scenes look at how ISS astronauts go about capturing their impressive Earth images, this article tells you all you need to know.

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Photographing Earth From the ISS is Not as Easy As You Might Think

Photographing Earth From the ISS is Not as Easy As You Might Think

Photographing Earth From the ISS is Not as Easy As You Might Think 8

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet has shared numerous beautiful photos of Earth taken from the International Space Station, but contrary to popular belief, making these photos isn’t as simple as just hanging out in the space station’s cupola.

As spotted by Digital Trends, Pesquet shared the image above along with a few words (in both French and English) about what goes into making the images he shares on his Flickr and Twitter regularly.

“Good planning for a picture is half the job, and for us it starts with our navigation software,” Pesquet writes. “It allows us to catalogue our targets (although I prepared many in advance before I left Earth).”

Pesquet says that the software he and the other astronauts have access to shows them where it is day and night on Earth and also provides them with cloud cover predictions. But most importantly, he says, it shows future orbits. As useful as this is, it’s not enough information for Pesquet to assure quality images.

“Many people think that we can take a picture of a specific place on Earth on command, but it is much harder than that. First of all our orbits mean we only fly over specific areas periodically. Secondly even if we do fly over an area of interest it might be during night-time so there will be nothing to see unless it is a city with bright streetlights. The lighting in the morning or evening is generally not good enough either (this is why some of the pictures have more pastel colors). Then there are clouds that can get in the way,” he explains.

“Lastly, and not the least, often we pass over areas… when we are working. We cannot drop everything we are doing at 14:35 for example just because we really want to take a picture of a city or a mountain or other marvel of Earth.”

One last thiing worth noting is even if the astronauts are aware of where they are currently orbiting and what should be below them, they still have to spot it from 250 miles above.

“Even if the stars align and we have the time, the orbits and the weather is in our favor… we still need to spot the target from 400 km above and setup the camera settings correctly!” Pesquet says.

For those curious, Pesquet uses a Nikon D5 for his photography, as shown in the EXIF data of the photos shared on Flickr, and a 70-200mm lens. Make sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Flickr for more photos captured from the orbiting space station.


Image credits: Header photo ESA/NASA

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Vestiges: Photo Series Commentary on Humanity’s Relationship with Earth

Vestiges: Photo Series Commentary on Humanity's Relationship with Earth

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The “purple mountain majesties” which Katharine Lee Bates reflected on when writing the words of America the Beautiful, would likely be unrecognizable to her today. Humankind appears intent on consuming all of what was a seemingly endless landscape in Bates’ day. However, we may at least credit ourselves with recognizing some value in wild places. We guard their remains behind the high fences of pay-as-you-go national parks.

Humanity’s relationship with the natural world is problematic. Although humankind is broadly seen as part of nature, human activity is often thought of as a separate category from other natural phenomena. Human activities are now largely destabilizing the fundamental balance of the global climate system.

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The pictures from the work “Vestiges” are not about deformations of the picturesque. Rather, they are examples of human activity that are more interesting, less-than-monotonous and sometimes quizzical efforts, aspirations, and constructions in the places we live. Realizing their impermanence, we might then view these anonymous abandoned structures and traces of our presence in a more informed and compelling framework.

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Walker Evans once commented, “A garbage can, occasionally, to me at least, be beautiful. That’s because you’re seeing. Some people are able to see that – see it and feel it. I lean towards the enchantment, the visual power, of the aesthetically rejected subject.”

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Ambiguity and visual contradictions offer a broad palette of possible narratives. The architectural variety and spatial organization, the opportunity to consider the phenomenon of change and loss, and the meditative and utter stillness of these places become valuable resources when considering the clutter and rubble of today’s “purple mountain majesties.”


The article is courtesy of ELEMENTS MagazineELEMENTS is the new monthly magazine dedicated to the finest landscape photography, insightful editorials, and fluid, clean design. Inside you will find exclusive and in-depth articles and imagery by the best landscape photographers in the world such as Freeman Patterson, Bruce Barnbaum, Rachael Talibart, Charles Cramer, Hans Strand, Erin Babnik, and Tony Hewitt, to name a few. Use the PETAPIXEL10 code for a 10% discount off the annual subscription.


About the author: David Zimmerman is an American photographer who works on long-term projects of landscape, portrait, and social documentary photography. He is best known for his landscape photographs in the desert regions of the southwestern US, his work in homeless and marginalized American communities, and for his large-scale portraits of Tibetan refugees in India. David’s work is exhibited internationally.

Zimmerman is co-founder of the Himalayan Art Centre, a free-school open to all. The Art Centre is dedicated to teaching visual storytelling through photography and filmmaking in under-served regions of the Indian Himalayas. Zimmerman is a member of the World Photographic Academy.

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How an ISS Astronaut Captures All Those Amazing Earth Photos

How an ISS Astronaut Captures All Those Amazing Earth Photos

The International Space Station (ISS) is about as good as it gets when it comes to aerial photography.

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet in the International Space Station's observation module.
Astronaut Thomas Pesquet in the International Space Station’s observation module. Thomas Pesquet

It’s no surprise, then, that many astronauts visiting the orbiting outpost quickly make a beeline for the Cupola, the space station’s seven-window observation module that offers mesmerizing views of Earth 250 miles below.

Current ISS inhabitant Thomas Pesquet has emerged as one of the most skillful shooters of the current crew, with the French astronaut regularly sharing breathtaking Earth images on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

But getting those incredible images isn’t simply a matter of peering out of the Cupola and hoping for the best.

It has been a while, but the blues of the #Bahamas and #KeyWest just never disappoint, seem to change hue on every pass over the area and brighten up our day every time we see them. Bask in the blue tones, and if you want more, there is a mapping too: 💙https://t.co/d4Pw9S4WDq pic.twitter.com/ZmEg6ccXWJ

— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) September 21, 2021

Current astronauts usually use a Nikon D5 DSLR with a telephoto lens to photograph Earth, but as Pesquet pointed out in a recent online post, it actually takes a lot of preparation to increase the chances of capturing a great image.

“Good planning for a picture is half the job, and for us it starts with our navigation software,” said the astronaut, who arrived at the ISS in April. “The software shows us where it is day and night and even cloud cover predictions, but most importantly it shows us the future orbits.”

Pesquet said he also plans many of his images before he leaves Earth, saving himself time once he reaches the space station.

According to the astronaut, whose current mission ends in October 2021, many people “think that we can take a picture of a specific place on Earth on command, but it is much harder than that. First of all, our orbits mean we only fly over specific areas periodically. Secondly, even if we do fly over an area of interest, it might be during nighttime so there will be nothing to see unless it is a city with bright streetlights.”

Depuis l'espace #LosAngeles brille autant que les stars qui parcourent ses rues ✨ https://t.co/HMepv8zaPW

🎶City of stars, are you shining just for me?🎶 Los Angeles at night lights up like stars in the sky. https://t.co/HMepv8zaPW #MissionAlpha #BigPicture pic.twitter.com/CZ2t3Hcvar

— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) September 18, 2021

The two biggest obstacles to capturing the desired shot are cloud cover and the work schedule, with ISS astronauts spending most of their time working on science experiments.

“Often we pass over areas when we are working.,” Pesquet explained. “We cannot drop everything we are doing at 14:35 for example just because we really want to take a picture of a city or a mountain or other marvel of Earth. Even if the stars align and we have the time [and] the orbits and the weather [are] in our favor, we still need to spot the target from 400 kilometers above and set up the camera settings correctly!”

Spring has not taken over all of the northern hemisphere – three examples in Asia where snow can still be found. ❄ #MissionAlpha https://t.co/LongHxMHsf pic.twitter.com/iEGQloFCiu

— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) May 16, 2021

Just from the small number of images that we’ve posted on this page, it’s clear that Pesquet has an eye for a great photo, and that his careful preparation pays off.

Andes again. This area, between Peru, Chile, Bolivia, is an infinite source of magical shapes and striking colours. Do you prefer a burgundy red lake, or a neon blue amphitheatre? #MissionAlpha pic.twitter.com/VZhDr1id7q

— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) September 19, 2021

For more of Pesquet’s stunning space-based photography, check out this collection of images that we showcased earlier this year.

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Surreal Earth Images From ISS Seem to Show Pac-Man Invasion

Surreal Earth Images From ISS Seem to Show Pac-Man Invasion


Surreal Earth Images From ISS Seem to Show Pac-Man Invasion 16

Astronauts peering out from the International Space Station (ISS)  are treated to an endless number of breathtaking views of Earth 250 miles below.

While most features are easily identifiable as cities, coastlines, or mountains, others appear otherworldly and somewhat mysterious.

Current ISS crew member Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, who regularly shares his efforts on his Twitter account, clearly has a keen eye for remarkable Earth images. His latest post, shared on Tuesday, definitely falls into the “mysterious” category. The three images show what Pesquet himself playfully describes as “peas in the desert, a Pacman invasion, or Earth’s record collection.”

But do you know what the extraordinary feature really is?

Des champs agricoles dans le désert : on dirait une collection de vinyles géants… ou alors c’est une invasion de Pacman ? 😨
.
A sight we see often while flying over 🌍: peas in the desert, a Pacman invasion, or Earth's record collection? #CropArt #MissionAlpha pic.twitter.com/N6rNWcqJa5

— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) August 31, 2021

Pesquet leaves a clue in the tweet’s hashtags: #cropart. That’s right, the photos show circular crop fields that use what is known as “center-pivot irrigation.”

As the name suggests, center-pivot irrigation uses a sprinkler system that rotates around a central point, which over time creates the circular effect that you see here. The sprinkler previously turned using water power but electric motors are more widely used these days.

The system has been in use for decades, with a farmer in Strasburg, Colorado, believed to have invented the efficient system.

Looking at the scenery in Pesquet’s pictures, it seems likely that these ones are located in Saudi Arabia, though if you check out somewhere like Kansas using Google Earth, you’ll also see plenty of the circular fields dotting the state there, too.

NASA’s Shane Kimbrough, who’s also aboard the ISS, is another astronaut with a keen eye for photography. One of his most striking images, posted earlier this year, captures a beautifully baffling scene that looks more like Mars than Earth.

ISS astronauts capture most of their shots from the the Cupola observatory module that features seven windows for awesome views of Earth and beyond. They can choose from a range of professional DSLR camera bodies and lenses, with most of the kit made by Nikon.

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Gorgeous Photos of Socotra, The ‘Most Alien-Looking Place on Earth’

Gorgeous Photos of Socotra, The 'Most Alien-Looking Place on Earth'

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Located east of the Horn of Africa, Socotra was famously described by English anthropologist George Wynn Brereton Huntingford in 1980 as “the most alien-looking place on Earth.” Photographer Daniel Kordan visited the island and captured the otherworldly beauty of the landscapes, from the dragon blood trees to the white sand dunes.

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Socotra is the largest of the remote Socotra islands in the Arabian Sea. They’re found 238 miles (380km) south of mainland Yemen (which the islands belong to) and 50 miles (80km) east of Africa. As with other remote islands on our planet, Socotra is known for being a cradle of biodiversity, boasting many unique animals and plants. 37% of the plants, 90% of the reptiles, and 95% of the land snails on Socotra are not found anywhere else on Earth.

Reuters calls the island the “jewel of biodiversity in Arabian Sea,” and the island was officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

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One of Kordan’s favorite things to photograph on Socotra is the Dracaena cinnabari, popularly known as the dragon blood tree, which is known for its densely arranged branches, umbrella-like shape, and red sap (hence the name).

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“According to legend, the first dragon blood tree was created from the blood of a dragon who was wounded in a battle with an elephant,” Kordan writes on Fstoppers.

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“The unusual shape of the dragon’s blood tree is an adaptation for survival in arid conditions with low amounts of soil, such as in mountaintops,” Wikipedia states. “The large, packed crown provides shade and reduces evaporation. This shade also aids in the survival of seedlings growing beneath the adult tree, explaining why the trees tend to grow closer together.”

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Another gorgeous feature of Socotra is the white sand, which is piled into beautiful rolling dunes along the turquoise sea and in the desert within the island.

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If you are interested in visiting Socotra yourself for a photography adventure, your best bet may be to arrange the trip through a local travel agency, which should be able to help you obtain a Yemeni visa. Visiting at the present time is not advised, though — the US government currently has a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory for the nation due to “due to COVID-19, terrorism, civil unrest, health risks, kidnapping, armed conflict, and landmines.”

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You can find more of Kordan’s work on his website and Instagram.


P.S. In case you missed it earlier this year, be sure to check out Kordan’s magical photographs of fireflies in Japan.


Image credits: Photographs by Daniel Kordan and used with permission

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