Feb 2015 26

You’ve put countless hours into the making of your photo book, so why not take a moment to reflect on what type of paper will suit it best? For instance, you wouldn’t want a deep matte paper if your photo book is about the bright, brilliant sunsets and tropical paradise from your vacation. In this week’s design photo book corner, we want to shed some light on how important the paper you select  is to your photo book to convey your vision.

This week we are focusing on photo books. We’ll take a look at some of the Hudson Album papers next month.

Your selection for photo books includes, Lustre, High Gloss, Deep Matte, Linen and pebble.


Lustre is our default and most popular universal choice. A hybrid of gloss and matte, that handles a wide spectrum of image types and brings out the best in them all. It is perfect especially for photo books with portraits in them.


  • Deep color contrast and rich color saturation
  • Reproduction qualities of glossy without the susceptibility to fingerprints
  • Non-glare, satiny and a slightly reflective appearance
  • Subtle, pearl-like, easy-on-the-eyes and fingers texture
  • True and crisp clarity for black and white prints


High Gloss

Shine on with High Gloss. This finish glows with a high-contrast appearance and an almost wet look. Brings an unexpected “pop” to any image. This type of paper is best suited for street, architecture and photographs with vibrant colors and it’s highly reflective.


  • Practically fingerprint-proof (unlike most glossy finishes)
  • Brilliant, smooth finish with an effervescent look
  • Dynamic and vivid color boost
  • Enhances a rainbow-wide color range
  • Lighter hues and darker tones are well defined

Deep Matte

This highly advanced and evolved finish is a frequent choice of professional photographers and discerning artists. It has a very soft look to it and the colors are more muted. It is best suited for fine art, black and white and natural light photos.


  • Lusterless surface creates elegant backdrop to refined images
  • Outstanding image stability with highest silver halide level
  • Feels the way it looks—velvety soft and luxurious
  • Caresses skin tones like no other finish
  • Purity in reproduction of whites and subtleties
  • Enhanced image depth and dimension



A textured finish added to our Lusture paper. The advantages of texturing artistically enhance both the visual and tactile aspects of your images. Textures, like linen, also provide a barrier to scanning for unauthorized reproduction and bolster copyright protection.


  • The classic with a subtle fabric-like, some say, “canvas” style texture
  • Highly professional look
  • Interesting tactile feel



A textured augmentation added to our Lusture finish. Texturing is both practical and artistic. On the practical side, texturing is a smart way to deter scanning for unauthorized reproduction and bolster copyright protection. On the artistic side, texturing adds an interesting professional finish to any photograph.


  • More irregular and uneven in pattern than linen
  • Minimal reflectivity in an upscale style
  • An artistic look and touch

As an example, we took a photo book and printed it out on two different papers. The results are dramatic. We hope this video will impress upon members on how important your final paper choice is to your beautiful photo book.

Feb 2015 24
It’s not a secret, as photographers… photography is very important to us. It’s a passion. So what happens when a professional photographer gets engaged to be married? More than likely, the first thing they think about is who will photograph their wedding?
In this week’s Tuesday’s Tips, we check in with AdoramaPix Ambassador Jenna Van Valen of Rover Exposed as she shares with us her experience in hiring the right wedding photographer for her big day.
I’ve finally made my selection official – I always figured it was who I would hire – but now it’s really real, contract is being written, deposit gets put down this week, balance will be paid in March. Done, put to bed.
But wedding photography is a bit of a quagmire in the era of the ubiquitous digital camera. Every person who buys a DSLR thinks they suddenly have the ability to photograph weddings, and their ads pop up all over various websites, with low, low prices and big promises.

I want to let you in on a few secrets, and I will explain each:

a “nice camera” is not the only tool needed

you need to look at more than a few images

you should get along with your photographer

genuine wedding photography is an investment

if there’s no contract, RUN


1. The DSLR, or digital single lens reflex.

Everyone has one now, from your uncle to your cousin to your best friend’s sister to that girl you know at work. That camera does not make them a professional. A true professional is going to come armed to the teeth to shoot your wedding – even if it’s just six people standing in a park. A pro is going to be bringing two high-end, full-frame bodies, and an assortment of prime lenses.

Prime refers to a fixed aperture, not the focal length; a 50mm 1.4 lens is a prime lens, but so is a 24-70mm 2.8; no matter where you are in the focal length of the lens, you can shoot at 2.8. Many cheap lenses have a variable aperture, usually 3.5-5.6. These cheap lenses usually come with the consumer-level body, and are fine for snapshots and daily use but are not sharp enough or fast enough to be used in a professional manner. 

The two bodies ensure if one fails, the other is good to go. The two bodies enable the photographer to quickly switch between two different options of lens, without missing a beat while swapping lenses, or sacrificing quality. The two bodies also mean that the photographer is going to have a large supply of spare batteries, and a large number of memory cards.

The professional will also have two external flashes. External flashes can and do overheat, requiring you to be able to switch between them in an instant, while one is cooling down. A built in flash that comes with your camera is never, ever good enough for pro work, period. A real photographer will also never tell you they “only use natural light,” that’s code for, “I never learned to use my flash properly.” A real photographer loves and works with natural light, but understands when and how to use fill, bounce, and additional lighting from their external flash or other auxiliary lighting (such as strobes/studio lights). And ballrooms in hotels never, ever have natural light, maybe right next to a window. But you won’t be dancing in front of that window all night, I promise.

A professional, or someone who knows what they are doing, will even be sure to rent equipment as needed to cover your event. Admission: I rented about $8,500 worth of extra gear (for $700) to take with me to Mexico for a wedding to make sure I had everything I needed – sounds like a lot – but it was better than NOT having the proper tools. I could not have shot that event properly without renting additional gear. Sometimes it’s just a matter of renting something fun, like a fisheye lens for your event, sometimes it’s one of your flashes is being repaired so you snag another for the event.

A professional will make sure they have all the gear they need, and will know how to use it. A professional is not going to miss a shot because their lens wasn’t high-enough quality.

You sister’s friend’s cousin who took a photography class in high school who loves to take photos of her baby with her new DSLR she got last for Christmas? That’s sweet of her to think she should photograph your wedding for free, and her enthusiasm for photography is charming and awesome, but when it comes to photography? FREE is a very bad price. Period.

2. You should see more than a few images.

If you’re considering hiring someone, you need to ask to see a whole wedding, not just highlights. What are you looking for when you scope out a portfolio? A few things to keep in mind. Many new photographers will shoot a whole wedding, but from an “uncle Bob” perspective. They’ve simply tailed the hired photographer at an event, and you’ll know this because no one will ever be looking at the camera. The shots will all be taken from just slightly off of center.

Now, many people start as second shooters, or assistants, and use this hands-on approach to help build their portfolio. And that’s fine – as long as you know that going in, that what you’re looking at is a wedding that someone else was hired to shoot. However, if the photographer doesn’t also have a solid portrait portfolio of individuals, couples, and families they’ve shot on their own, you need be worried that won’t have the ability to pose you, move you, direct you on your wedding day. I’m betting you’re not a professional model (I know I sure as hell don’t qualify), and that you probably hate photos of yourself.

A skilled, experienced photographer is going to put you at ease, coach you through your photos gently and encouragingly, asking you to move this way or that, or adjust your arm so that you don’t look 30 pounds heavier than you are, or ask you to tilt your head or chin so you don’t look like a shapeless blob, and every time you get it right they’re going to tell you “Awesome!” or some such. You should feel like a million dollars, and when your photographer is done – without even seeing a single sneak peek you should feel confident your photos are going to be amazing.

Someone with a lot of second-shooter experience at big events can be wonderful – but only if they have other portrait experience to back up their wedding experience! You don’t want someone who’s never shot a wedding before, or someone who has never managed a photo shoot on their own. If they can’t wrangle a family of four, how on earth will they wrangle, pose, direct, and manage your entire extended family (who would rather be drinking) for a group photo?

Anyone can get lucky and have a few solid shots in their portfolio. You should be able to see many different weddings, examples, complete events, and you should look for consistency, you shouldn’t be bored to tears, and you should find yourself looking at each of their photos and screaming on the inside, “YES! I want these pictures to be of ME!” Imagine you’re the bride, and you’re seeing those photos of yourself. Would you want them?


3. You should love your photographer.

You should want to have drinks with them, hang out with them, be their new BFF. Okay, that might be a slight overstatement. BUT, you’re going to be spending hours and hours with this human, with your family, with your best friends, you’re going to laugh, cry, get dressed, listen to passive aggressive comments from your older sister,something embarrassing is bound to happen.

Who do you want there with you? Some person who has no experience handling crazy people, who isn’t capable of not laughing at you when you make an ugly crying face, who is going to quietly judge you as you cram into your spanx? No! You want someone who is going to keep you laughing, relaxed, feeling wonderful, who can manage crowds and tense family situations with ease. A photographer who isn’t afraid to jump in and bustle your dress when your maid of honor is MIA. You want your photographer to feel like part of your extended family, you want them to be an extension of yourself and your bridal party, as they are there for YOU on your big day.

If you don’t like your potential photographer as a human, you are NOT going to want them with you on your wedding day, no matter what their portfolio looks like. You don’t want an intruder, you need another friend. I promise – having a photographer you love, trust, and respect is an intangible thing, but you’ll know it when you meet them.


4. Professionals cost money.

That love, the trust, the respect, the amazing portfolios, the right equipment, the experience, the people skills, the years spent behind the lens, the hours and hours spent editing, the software, the insurance, the classes, the marketing, the professionalism comes at a price. You cannot think to yourself, “This photog wants to charge me $2500 for five hours? That’s $500 an hour!” NO IT ISN’T. It isn’t, it isn’t, it just plain isn’t. Wedding photographers do not go into business to become rich, I cannot stress this enough. There are easier, less stressful, less demanding careers that pay far more, I promise.

A wedding photographer runs a marathon on your wedding day. They are on their feet, they are on the ground, they are wrangling adults and children, they are brushing off pushy relatives who have suggestions (in such a way that the relative isn’t offended), they are making you feel wonderful, they are producing consistently high-quality photos, they are managing their time, they are mentally doing gymnastics and taking tallies of people, they are remembering names, faces, details – wedding photographers ARE POWERFUL SUPERHEROES. They are running on adrenaline, water, the occasional soda, a Snicker’s bar, and the few bites of food they had during dinner (because no one wants photos of themselves with food in their mouths). They will go home with aches and pains in obscure muscles you aren’t even aware of. Their brains will be on fire from the action of the day.

Factor in the mental stress and exhaustion, the physical exertion, the travel time, the taxes, the processing time, and all those things I mentioned above, and wedding professionals? They’re not rich. They’re not getting rich off of you, they’re paying their bills. If someone is charging you $500 for a wedding, it’s because everything I just wrote doesn’t apply to them. No pro-equipment, no taxes, no insurance, no business license, for that matter they shouldn’t be offering you wedding photography at all!

5. Which leads me to this, the contract.

Your $500 craigslist photographer not only isn’t going to have a contract, isn’t going to have the right equipment, isn’t going to know what they’re doing, they’re likely to flake out on you and not even show up. I am a member of several online wedding industry groups – for professionals and clients to post and share and talk. At least once a week a panicked bride will post she needs an emergency photographer, her groupon-special/craigslist-find/distant cousin photog is MIA. Their wedding is in three days, they don’t have a photographer, they only have $500, can someone please help?

Here’s why they don’t have a photographer: they didn’t hire a professional. Now, not everyone with a contract can offer all the services I’ve already talked about, there are countless boilerplate contract templates out there on the internet. Anyone can meet you at a bar with one of these in hand. But a professional is going to have a contract, every single time, period. This will spell out in specifics, explicitly, terms, dates, times, what you can expect to be delivered. It will be custom-tailored to your event, with your name, your fiance’s name, when the deposit is due, terms of the deposit and forfeiture, when the balance is due, what time the photographer is expected to show up, how late they are expected to stay, the cost of additional hours, whether or not additional photographers will be backing them up, the method of delivery of your images, the contract will be thoroughly detailed.

The contract protects you as a consumer, manages expectations, can always be referred back to, and protects the photographer. If your photographer can’t/won’t do this? Run.

I only shoot weddings for friends at this point in my life, but I still customize a contract for every wedding I shoot. It explains the money, the delivery, the times I will work. It seems crazy having a contract with friends, but I am providing a service, and it is a simple way to put in writing exactly what they will get if they hire me. Contracts are a must!

So, who did I hire?

A wonderfully talented professional who is quite famous locally, who I have had the pleasure of working alongside in the past, who I trust, who I respect, who I have fun with. And I’m paying him – and he’s worth every cent. 50% of my wedding budget is for photography. That is no exaggeration – what would be the point of throwing money at food, the dress, the venue, the flowers, the invitations, and then have some incompetent amateur “documenting” my special day?

If I’m going to invest in a party for all my favorite people, my family, if I’m having the dress, the location, the food, the dancing… I have no qualms paying someone to document it beautifully for me, the images will be the only tangible things remaining after the wedding is over, aside from my marriage.

Who cares how much you spent on your dress, your hair, your makeup, your shoes, if the photos of you are garbage? Investing in the right photographer is simply the only sensible thing to do.

Thank you Jenna. Jenna hails from the west coast and has spent over 15 years working as a professional photographer in various disciplines. If you would like to check out more of her  fabulous work make sure to head over to her website

Feb 2015 19

His message is strong, simple and inspiring.SIMPLIFY. VISUALIZE. CREATE. LOVE. LIVE. LAUGH.  I first saw Peter Pobyjpicz’s Photo Book Portfolio by chance. Let me just say, it literally took my breath away. It was everything a portfolio should be, amazing photography, flow and passion. I wanted to find out more about Peter’s work, his background and his inspiration.  Here is a short interview.

1. Tell us a little about yourself. 

I grew up in Germany. My parents are Russians who survived the Nazi labor camps and stayed in West Germany after WW2. Since 2004, I have lived in the United States. Up  until last 2013 year I was in New York City, NY.  I have since moved to Phoenix, Arizona.I always loved to draw and paint and when I was about 17  I bought my first SLR camera after  doing Film Super 8 for 3 years. I was instantly in love with this little black metal box and it was a more easy way to express myself than with painting.

In 1983 I started an internship at Germany’s most famous Sports Photo Agency WEREK.  I became office manager 2 years later, covering Olympic Games, World Cups and all other large international sports events. When I went freelance in 1986, I also I studied graphic/arts/design in Germany. This helped me to change into the advertising world as a photographer now specialized in sports/acton/lifestyle and later under water. 
2. How did you start in underwater photography?

I used to play pro waterpolo in the German Team. That  is why I was always drawn towards underwater photography. In the beginning everything was analog and there was no visual control like nowadays. One had to be very precise and know what one is doing. You had to spend a lot of money with test shoots ( processing films ! ) to create your own style and get used to the different medium: water. I photographed my first under water campaign for adidas in 1998. Nowadays, I have my post producer on set for a perfect workflow. Clients love to see everything evolving in front of their eyes. Most importantly, one has to create a stress free environment for the models to perform at their best. At same time the photographer has to be in excellent shape to perform stress free for 6-8 hours underwater, holding breath while shooting under water.
3. Your portfolio speaks volumes about your work – what advice can you give other photographers when they make their portfolio?

Be very selective in what images you put into your portfolio. Take out any image that is not absolutely 100%. Always think like as if you see this image for the first time: Would it touch you ? Would it surprise you ? Artists always tend to be too much in love with their work ( and they should ! ) but it also blocks us from selecting only the very best. It’s a learning process. Take criticism from someone who knows the business or is your role model without being offended or hurt.
4. What are your go to lenses?

I love fast lenses 35mm 1.4 , 85 mm 1.4 ,50 mm 1.2 , 300 mm 2.8, 200 mm 2.0. These lenses have a certain look that is just so cinematic , so beautiful. Yet they are not easy to work with. But that the beauty, not everybody can handle these. I looove Zeiss cinematic lenses. Underwater I mostly work with a 20 mm 2.8 or a 17mm 2.8

5. What words of inspiration do you have for photographers just starting out in sports photography?

Practice . Look for new views. Minimalize. Always create and never stop. If you want to be successful you have to live, eat and drink photography 24/7. You will suffer and doubt yourself, and fight for it. You will not get rich fast, if ever but if you can deal with all these obstacles you will be rewarded with inner peace and joy. And ultimately : Success.  Never give up. Go for it !

Thank you Peter. If you would like to see more of his work you can check out :

Twitter       @thepoby
Instagram @thepoby



Feb 2015 18

Photographers often rely on the internet and word of mouth for business. So what happens when your business is threatened with a bad review from someone  you’ve never met? It’s a scam that is on the rise and it’s targeting photographers and their livelihood.

Guest Blogger and amazing newborn photographer, Eden Bao of Eden Bao Photography was the target of one of these scams. Here is how she recognized it and is currently dealing with it.


In December, I received a new client inquiry from Mark Schwarz ( ). It was different from the normal inquiries in that this person pasted an image of his inquiry (instead of typing out in text) with bold red font. I ignored it and did not respond.

In January, I received another new client inquiry from Jennifer McMahon Lawyer ( ) asking for my website address so I responded.

In early February, Jennifer replied introducing herself as a private investigator and forensic IT investigator offering her services in the event that I receive negative comments about my business.

One week later I got a complaint from Mohammed Abdullah ( I found it humorous that this person did not bother to research what kind of photographer I am—I photograph newborns, babies and women who are pregnant! I do not photograph men (unless they happen to be the father holding the baby or the husband of my maternity client).


A neat feature of Gmail is that it groups all replies with the original message, creating a single conversation thread. Replies to emails are displayed in order making it easy to understand the context of the message, as if you are in a natural conversation. Even though I spoke with “three” different people with different email address, Gmail groups them together as if they are related to each other (maybe they are the same person or people using the same computer or sharing the same bcc: list perhaps?)   I present the conversation thread as it appears in my Gmail below:

The great thing about being connected with many newborn photographers nationally and internationally is that information is shared quickly and you find out that you are not alone. In fact, a detailed description of how this scam works is described on “BAD REVIEWS” EXTORTION, THREATS, ETC. published on February 12 on In my case, it appears that the scammers either forgot to send me the email from the friendly and helpful geriatric nurse in Utah or skipped it and sent me my first complaining “client”.


At this point, I will adopt a wait-and-see approach as to how this scam develops. I am waiting for an email that presents me my options and the price of the reputation management services, which would establish this scam as blackmail. Blackmail involves a threat to do something that would cause a person to suffer embarrassment (like write bad reviews) unless a person meets certain demands (like paying up so they won’t write bad reviews) and is considered a crime regardless whether the information (the bad reviews) is true or false. The central element of the crime is the blackmailer’s intent to obtain money (or property or services) from the victim with threats of revealing the information.

I will, of course, not pay so I expect that bad reviews will appear on sites like and shortly.


1) Report the scam to the appropriate authorities. For us Canadians, that is the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at . CAFC is Canada’s central repository for data, intelligence and resource material as it relates to fraud and is managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. For Americans, report the internet crime to the FBI at and the Federal Trade Center at (or their hotline: 1-877-382-4357).

2) Reviews sites often allow the company who has been named in the review to respond. Respond to fake bad reviews as you would with real bad reviews. See links below for resources on how to handle fake reviews.

3) Get the review site to remove the fake bad reviews but know that this may not be possible or may take a long time.


1) Set up Google Alert for your business name  to review sites like YelpRipoffreport and iFormative.

2) Check Social Mention regularly to monitor online reviews on social media.

3) Read these awesome pages on how to handle fake reviews:



If anyone has anything to add regarding to the development of this scam, I would love to hear from them!

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This story first hit Eden Bao’s blog last week. You can find the full story HERE.  Eden Bao is a newborn and maternity photographer from Vancouver, BC  currently relocating to Seattle, WA., area. She is a member of the PPA and she is a Master Member of the Master Photographers National. You can see her beautiful work on her website or on her Facebook page.

Feb 2015 17

Tuesdays we like to bring you a few tips on how to improve your photography skills. This week we focus on  - How can you get your image to stand out at an iconic (overshot) location? AdoramaPix Ambassador Justin Hofman gives us his tips. 

  • Research, research, research
  • Find out what the ‘iconic’shot is for that location and then try to do something vastly different
  • Take a virtual tour using Google Earth and The Photographer’s Ephemeris to become familiar with the location
  • Ask other photographers for their suggestions and be sure to take some of it with a grain of salt
  • Plan your trip for the optimal light and weather but be willing to go out even when it’s not perfect
  • Don’t get in line. Look for another viewpoint
  • Bring versatile gear that will allow you to shoot for a variety of looks and viewpoints
  • Be mobile and don’t get stuck in a creative rut by trying to emulate the shots you’ve already seen
  • Be willing to take a chance with you gear. Remember, cameras are tools, not heirlooms
  • Don’t forget to think about black and white conversions, especially in harsh afternoon light



Although it may not be totally obvious, I love the desert. Not as much as I love being in the ocean, but it’s a strong second. There are a few places on this planet I wish everyone could encounter. Unfortunately, being bipedal mammals, we do impact the very ground we walk on, so luckily there is a fairly strict permitting process which limits just how many people can visit Coyote Butte Wilderness’ most iconic feature, The Wave. Carved out of Navajo sandstone over thousands of years, The Wave is truly incredible and considered by many photographers as a rite of passage, a pilgrimage you could say. For the aspiring photographer, just getting to The Wave is challenging enough, but how do you make a picture that stands out amongst the thousands of other images? Even with the strict permitting process, nearly everyone who visits The Wave takes photos they are proud of, essentially saturating the market for beautiful, scenic, and “unique” desert shots.


Before I visit a popular site, I always do a Google Image search of the location just to see how others have shot the site. This is akin to digital scouting and starts my pre-visualization process. It also gives me a target to NOT shoot for. Google Image searches are a great way to see how everyone else has approached the subject. I am always trying to avoid the “postcard” shot or vacation snapshots that don’t stand out. Memorable photography is about capturing a scene in a unique way so I will intentionally avoid the most common angles if at all possible. I’ll also search Google Earth to get an overhead view and to get the lay of the land. This helps me build a mental map of an area I may have never been to before. I find I’m much more successful when shooting a subject I’ve seen before, but that’s not always an option so I’ll research a subject and visualize my shots as much as possible. The Photographer’s Ephemeris is a great app and allows me to find out what direction the sun will be shining on the subject (amongst a ton of other features), which will dictate the timing of the shoot.


Shadows at The Wave either make or break the photo and need to be taken into account when planning the best time to shoot.



Lastly, I talk to people. Especially locals. For The Wave, three Southwest photographers helped me considerably with locations, angles, times of day, and even attaining a permit. All three are extremely creative photographers with an impressive body of work.


The Second Wave offers less contrast amongst its stripes, but it’s still beautiful and sees much fewer visitors.


Don’t forget the power of black and white processing. No one will believe the color of the rocks anyways!

justinhofman8 justinhofman9

Wide angle lenses are key, but you’ll have a hard time keep people out of the shot.

I often try to avoid groups of photographers and explore unique angles. Although, at The Wave, the rocks really constrain your position so some of my best shots were taken from the peanut gallery.


I have a pretty strong aversion to standing in line amongst a bunch of photographers because I really don’t want the same angle as everyone else. If I can help it, I’ll wander around the site and look for something else to shoot. Due to the shape of the bowl, there are only so many places you can stand when photographing the Main Wave. Sadly, there are only so many angles you can shoot from, so you’re going to need another edge.

Unique light can help to capture the subject in a unique way. Being the high desert, clouds are experienced far less often than clear blue skies and offer something interesting for your photographs. Blue skies are boring. Clouds make the shot. It doesn’t happen every day, but having clouds really helps desert, and especially black and white photography. However, being in a drainage, darkening skies in this part of the world can mean dangerous conditions so I would never suggest any photographer shoots in the desert with threatening skies unless you’re familiar with the location. Anyone who has witnessed a desert flash flood can attest to this.

Taking a look at the Google Image search results for The Wave, I noticed a dearth of black and white shots. Because of that, I thought about my shots with the assumption that I’d process them in black and white later. Relationships between color and contrast is very important when composing for black and white shots. As is the standard, everything was shot in color in RAW, while black and white processing was done with Adobe Camera Raw,  Google’s Nik software, specifically Silver Efex Pro, and Adobe Photoshop.



Nikon d600 (FX)

NIkon 14-24mm f/2.8

Nikon d7000 (DX)

Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8 DX fisheye

Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR

NIkon 50mm f/1.8

Justin Hofman is an AdoramaPix Ambassador and lives on the west coast.  His underwater images are astonishing and you can view more of his work on his  website at His Facebook page or follow him on Instagram account @JustinHofman.






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