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Thread: Medium Format Ariel photography?

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    Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Hello! I just got an opportunity for a 90 minute helicopter flight around LA with the doors off, for photographic purposes.

    I am thinking that my 5d with 24-70 f2.8 L II would be sufficient for this (maybe another body with a 70-200 too) but am also contemplating bringing my H2, P45+, and 50-110 lens to shoot some ariels with.

    Would this setup even be worth bringing? My fear is the setup being too slow for some scenes that I would only have limited time to capture and possibly getting some motion blur as the light fades (going during golden hour)

    I would like to make the most of this opportunity and am wondering if it's worth bringing the medium format rig for the increased resolution over the 5d.

    Any past ariel photography experience would be kindly appreciated.
    Rick Rose
    www.RickrPhoto.com
    HasselPhase

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    The nice thing about aerial photography is things are far away so stopping down for DoF as you would in landscapes is not as important. One member at GetDPI (sergio lovisolo?) shoots aerials with a Pentax 645D. So it is possible to use MFD. Keeping the shutter speed high is critical. Some will use camera mounted gyros to stabilize the camera. they present their own problems, but I am sure you can find these for rent in LA and might be worth a chat with the rental company.

    With any aircraft, if you don't want to shoot the aircraft itself, wides are not much use. You might find the 70-200 much more useful.
    Last edited by Shashin; 27th December 2013 at 20:59.

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    The below advice is from working with aerial clients. As full disclosure I have zero hours of aerial experience hands on.

    ---

    First you need to define success. I'm not being trite - there are several perfectly reasonable answers here.

    If you're looking for an aerial system which will get you a very high hit rate (out of every 10 potential compositions you are likely to get a decent (in focus, sharp, usable color) image of 9 or 10 of then), then a Canon is a better option.

    If you're looking to come home with X really great shots from the flight, which you can print big or sell for any use-case, with stellar color and detail, and it is acceptable if you miss several (maybe even "many" given it's your first time in this scenario) potential compositions as long as you're really happy with the ones you nail, then consider bringing your phase one 45+, or bringing both canon and phase.

    Sensor+ on the newer backs would have been nice to have, but not an option for your 45+.

    Also if you bring both systems consider bringing a prime on your hassy instead of the slower zoom. A Canon with a 70-200 IS and a phase with an 80 or 50 is one combo that comes to mind.

    I wouldn't worry *too* much about golden hour, even with a 45+, especially with a fastish wide angle and with a gryo. But without sensor+ I think you'll find anything after sunset to be impossible from the air with your 45+.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    You can shoot wide open, depth of field is meaningless at the distance that you will be from the ground. I usually shot at f/2.8 to get a high enough shutter speed. But in truth, if your pilot will do a gentle arc around your picture, the relative ground speed is so slow, that vibration from the helicopter is all you are fighting. The 5d is a 12 MP which if you use a normal, heavily my suggestion, it is quite adequate. How big do you want these to go? Is one question, the other is, handling equipment in any kind of small aircraft and actually shooting is a learned skill. I would suggest,use the camera you are most familiar with. LA should have some nice sunset light, but usually shooting at right angles to the sun gets you the best look. but it really depends on what you are going for. It will be very cold even at 1000 feet, bundle up. Good luck. Joe

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    If you were going during daylight, I'd say go for it -



    ISO 100, 1/1000th, f/5.6
    IQ180, FPS, 32HR

    I've just had a 2.8m x 2.1m print of that delivered. It looks lovely.

    In golden hour though? That'll be tough with a P45+ I reckon.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.
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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    I do my own aerials as I'm also a pilot too, and in our Super Cub with no door or window the slipstream can be extreme even at 90 mph. Forget using a gyro unless your shooting video. Space can be limited and the easiest camera is best. I shot my H4D/40 with an 80mm while flying the aircraft, and while it was a tight fit, I found the 80mm too wide. Shooting from a heli is fun! I shot a music video with an Arriflex, low and slow over Los Angeles. Pilots love to share the experience, so just ask him to hover if you find a cool perspective. Boost your ISO, or bring ND filters and keep your shutter speed fast at f2.8 you should be good. Shooting at 200mm can offer amazing compressed perspectives, remember to press the camera against your forehead while pushing your forehead against the camera with arms tight and close. One more thing to think about is don't stare too long through the viewfinder at any given time and don't eat heavy, greasy food prior to departure, that mostly applies to aerobatics, but keep in mind nonetheless. If you shoot without looking through the viewfinder remember to shut your eyepiece to protect against stray light. Consider ND/UV haze filters, as LA sits in a perfect location for inversion layers and smog. Sunset/sunrise flights certainly create the most dramatic shadows. Enjoy!
    Last edited by johnnygoesdigital; 28th December 2013 at 06:50.

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Gerald - stunning!

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Update:

    I currently have these as my 'go to' setup:

    5d Mark II with 24-70 f2.8L II (I am aiming to get a shot of dodger stadium with DTLA behind it, as well as doing some wide shots of the DTLA area in general.

    1d Mark IV (or I can borrow a 1ds3 from the same friend) with a 70-200 f2.8L IS v1
    (leaning towards the IV as the higher ISO capability may be really useful)

    I am thinking about taking the hasselblad with me. I would be able to bring a 100 f2.2 which does let in a lot of light, and maybe push iso 400 on my back.

    The other lenses I have are: 50-110, 80 f2.8, 120 f4 macro (not even going to bother with this) and the 150 f3.2

    The planned route is to go by the Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Area, Downtown, Culver City, Santa Monica, Malibu, LAX then landing.

    This is going to be my first experience in a helicopter, and I do not have UV filters for my lenses as I find they didn't ever really do much other than protect the lens and degrade the image quality. Luckily it has been extremely clear the last few days in LA.

    P.S. Gerald, that is an amazing image.
    Rick Rose
    www.RickrPhoto.com
    HasselPhase

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Hi Rick,

    The following images were shot on a 5Dii with 24-70 (mark 1) from a helicopter - I have certainly found the keeper rate to be much higher when shooting from a chopper around sunset with the 5Dii (and the D800E) than my 645D - once you get beyond the light levels that can be shot at f2.8 1/250 (or so) @ ISO 400, the MFD option tends to become inferior. However, as long as light levels are high enough, I'd say go for the MFD option (while expecting a somewhat lower keeper rate).

    [IMG] _MG_0044Step11SSSMALL by Ed Hurst, Spiffing Pics, on Flickr[/IMG]

    [IMG] _MG_0112_small by Ed Hurst, Spiffing Pics, on Flickr[/IMG]

    P.S. If you can use an image stabilised lens, I feel that it does help a little...
    Ed Hurst, www.spiffingpics.com
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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    If you do shoot MFD try a few with MU. This will reduce slap, and get you a better success rate. If you do shoot wide, try to include a few of the helicopter too, good production value!

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Ariel photography...
    Last edited by bradhusick; 17th July 2014 at 09:06.
    Brad Husick
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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    I have been hired to shoot from a Heli about 4-5 times. I would suggest you only take the 5DII and the 1Ds3 or 1D4. If you want extra resolution rent a D800E and lens. Medium Format works great if you are looking to make a few specific shots only and in good light. In variable conditions and with a large possibility of views and subjects I would avoid it. You won't have time to waste, time in a Heli is precious.

    One crucial thing, Do Not Underestimate the vibration of the chopper. It will ruin images very easily. The use of as high a shutter speed as you can cannot be over emphasized.

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Shooting ariel from a helicopter is all about shutter speed. With the doors off you are basically strapped to the seat which is in turn strapped to the frame of the copter. That means you are taking on all of the vibration with no way to dampen it by sitting forward like you can when the doors are on.

    I typically shoot the Phase One DF with an 80mm lens wide open (f/2.8). I've gotten some sharp shots at 1/800th of a second but don't really feel comfortable below that.

    If light is low I can crank up the ISO on the IQ 140 back to ISO 400 before quality gets bad. If you are shooting at dusk I would definately opt for a CMOS sensor that can perform better above ISO 400.

    Hope that helps.

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    I've shot MF from fixed wing aircraft. On my IQ180 I used ISO200 and shutter priority set at 1/2000 or 1/4000 with the Mamiya 150 mm f2.8 and the results were great - but the light was mid-afternoon sunshine.

    Years ago I shot from a helicopter over Cape Town with my Rollei 6008. Big mistake - I only had a waist level viewfinder which is impossible to use in such cramped quarters! I ended up pointing the camera by guesswork and needless to say, got very few keepers!

    Good luck!

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by padams View Post
    Shooting ariel from a helicopter is all about shutter speed. With the doors off you are basically strapped to the seat which is in turn strapped to the frame of the copter. That means you are taking on all of the vibration with no way to dampen it by sitting forward like you can when the doors are on.

    I typically shoot the Phase One DF with an 80mm lens wide open (f/2.8). I've gotten some sharp shots at 1/800th of a second but don't really feel comfortable below that.

    If light is low I can crank up the ISO on the IQ 140 back to ISO 400 before quality gets bad. If you are shooting at dusk I would definately opt for a CMOS sensor that can perform better above ISO 400.

    Hope that helps.
    Sit on the floor of the helicopter with your legs out of the open door
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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Hello All,

    I was able to have a bucket list adventure, when I flew on an Airship Ventures Zeppelin (since has gone out of business) ride from Long Beach to Moffet Field in San Jose. I took well over 3,000 images with my Leica S2. It was amazing. Most of my images were taken with the 180mm lens. I had a high percentage of keepers. I tried to make sure that I shot the images at 1/2000 of a second. I also shot the images with the lens wide open. You can see more images at scotttanseyphoto.com to see more images

    Scott
    Last edited by Scott Tansey; 28th December 2013 at 23:22. Reason: The image finally attached

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Here are some examples of a rig that we set up recently for a client and an article which has a video and examples of his work, Andrew Moore Aerial Project.

    He is using an IQ180/DF+ mounted in a remote Jib on the wing of a Cesna.


    Lance
    LANCE SCHAD - Digital Transitions - Phase One,Mamiya | Leaf,Arca-Swiss,Cambo, Profoto
    direct/cell:610-496-5586 office:877-367-8537x224
    http://www.digitaltransitions.com email:[email protected]

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    I have shot aerials since 1979 - mostly 35mm and medium format film - until 2003. Since 2003 - all digital. I've shot around the world with both MF digital and DSLR's. A Gyro is an must-have tool for aerials with MF. Folks who use IS or VR are, in my opinion, kidding themselves about sharpness. A gyro is essential.

    I shoot with my Alpa TC or my Hassy H series mated to a Leaf Credo back. I always use - either my Kenyon Labs KS 4x4 gyro or a KS-8 gyro.

    Don't worry about depth of field, go for the highest shutter speed possible, stay out of a Robinson R-22 and remember, altitude is your friend.

    http://www.camerondavidson.com/-/gal...-/medias/first
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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Great Manhattan shot, Cameron.

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Ditto on the Kenyon gyro, if you go that route. GPI Pro in North Hollywood rent's these gyro's. You should perhaps take a 35mm dslr that shoots video too. Ninety min. for aerials is a generous window for creativity.

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Google search shows that GPI Pro moved from North Hollywood to Valencia in 2012.

    GPI Pro Systems
    25026 Anza Dr. Unit B
    Valencia, CA 91355 - USA

    (661) 257-5771 - Office
    (661) 257-5775 - Fax

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    I would add one more thing, don't put the camera into the airstream. The moving air can create a distortion, plus it is annoying when bits of the camera fly off. Highest shutter speed is trump. Helicoptors are smoother if moving rather than hovering. It is best to run an arc around the subject so that it is a lot like a pan of a moving object. The subject is on the inside of the wheel and you are on the outside, so relatively speaking, the subject is hardly moving. Good luck and Happy New Year. Joe

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Camdavidson View Post
    I have shot aerials since 1979 - mostly 35mm and medium format film - until 2003. Since 2003 - all digital. I've shot around the world with both MF digital and DSLR's. A Gyro is an must-have tool for aerials with MF. Folks who use IS or VR are, in my opinion, kidding themselves about sharpness. A gyro is essential.

    I shoot with my Alpa TC or my Hassy H series mated to a Leaf Credo back. I always use - either my Kenyon Labs KS 4x4 gyro or a KS-8 gyro.

    Don't worry about depth of field, go for the highest shutter speed possible, stay out of a Robinson R-22 and remember, altitude is your friend.

    http://www.camerondavidson.com/-/gal...-/medias/first
    I was just about to link to some of your images, but I didn't know that you are here.

    Just look at some majestic images from Cameron, and Cameron loves the first and last hour of sunset:

    Cameron Davidson Photographer Mary Virginia Swanson and the Alpa TC

    Crisssspnesssssss.

    I see that Cameron now updated his gear and I hope his website will have an example or two with his new Credo 60 and an unknown Hasselblad H series camera.

    One of Cameron's most famous images for a shoot for Vanity Fair happened doing the golden hour:

    http://www.camerondavidson.com/-/gal...aphy-portfolio

    Or how about a crisp autumn morning aerial of Manhattan?

    Cameron Davidson Photography CD_2013_1020_nyc_aerial_0005_1

    Cameron, do you still use sunPATH?

    So, Gerald, it's possible to go medium-format during those magical hours of daylight.

    P. S. Gerald, what does FPS and 32HR stand for? I think I know, but just in case.

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Check also Nick Rains' website, he shoots with a Leica S2:

    Nick Rains | Imaging | Search

    Check page 9, for example, for a shot of the cliffs and the deep blue sea around it, though that one was made with a Canon, or page 13 for stunning medium-format images of the farmlands and wheatfields in the Stirling Ranges in Western Australia.

    Or this:

    Nick Rains | Imaging | Western Australia | Aerial

    I believe Cameron Davidson is a follower of Adriel Heisey's work and perhaps he knows which camera Adriel now uses for his work. I believe previously it was a Pentax, it maybe still is his camera of choice. Cameron should know a few other photographers who shoot medium-format.

    Basically, you should select Aperture Priority, select the aperture at which your lens is at its sharpest and monitor the shutter speed. I believe it is desirable to go around 1/700 and above.
    Last edited by .:Aleph:.; 7th January 2014 at 12:26.

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Zerimar, will those images ultimately end up on a website?

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    MU= mirror up

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Tansey View Post
    Hello All,

    I was able to have a bucket list adventure, when I flew on an Airship Ventures Zeppelin (since has gone out of business) ride from Long Beach to Moffet Field in San Jose. I took well over 3,000 images with my Leica S2. It was amazing. Most of my images were taken with the 180mm lens. I had a high percentage of keepers. I tried to make sure that I shot the images at 1/2000 of a second. I also shot the images with the lens wide open. You can see more images at scotttanseyphoto.com to see more images

    Scott
    Lovely photos.

    Such a pity that from 3,000 images only a few made it online.

    What's missing is the required photo of The Manor:

    The Manor - photopilot


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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    MU= mirror up
    Thank you.



    Does anybody know how did people use to judge exposure, and how they still do, in fact, when shooting film, 35 mm or medium-format, such as with a 6 × 7 Pentax, Mamiya or any other similar camera, or with a 6 × 6 Hasselblad or some other camera of that format?

    Is there any sense in using a light meter for aerial photography?

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    The Pentax 645D is a good camera for aerials, if not for the possibility of moiré sometimes generated by roof structures at particular distances.
    An example:


    _IGP1551a by sergio lovisolo, on Flickr

    The full size jpg is available on flickr.

    My company, Pubbliaerfoto, has been active worldwide for the past half century,
    shooting mainly with Linhof aerotecknica 4"x5" transparencies: main limit was low shutter speed and low film sensitivity. This notwithstanding, results were usually outstanding. With digital, everything got really easier, and now, with cameras like the pentax, or D800 or A7r in the near future there are no problems.

    A link to a page of my site ( New York)

    Aerial photo archive of Italy, Europe and World - Photo Agency - Image Bank

    This argument has been discussed on Getdpi e.g.:

    http://www.getdpi.com/forum/nikon/36...00-aerial.html

    Sergio
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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by .:Aleph:. View Post
    Thank you.



    Does anybody know how did people use to judge exposure, and how they still do, in fact, when shooting film, 35 mm or medium-format, such as with a 6 × 7 Pentax, Mamiya or any other similar camera, or with a 6 × 6 Hasselblad or some other camera of that format?

    Is there any sense in using a light meter for aerial photography?
    No difference from every other type of photography.

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    I am so fascinated by that Linhof Aero Technika, you have no idea. How do you use that thing? It seems like such a beast. How do you set it up, choose / determine all the parameters?

    I know a Dutch photographer Karel Tomeď uses it, you can see him holding it on his website:

    Flying Camera

    I'm also fascinated by those ancient cameras such as the Fairchild F8, used for example by Mary Upjohn Meader, who loaded it with special 5 × 7 film made by Kodak.

    So with film I know that you have to guess. Are there any rules you use in practice? I've been trying to find film that I think should be great for aerial photography, and I ended up with Kodak Portra 400 120 colour negative film. Is there anything better? What sort of slide film did you use for your assignments?

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Absolutely take your medium format gear.

    Two years ago I did aerial photography from a plane while in Belize. The kicker though was I used my Fuji 617, so it was film only for me. I used velvia 50 and provia 400. I got some good results. As others said you don't need to stop down, I believe I shot most of my shots at f8-f12 focused at infinity.

    In the end I got about 4 very useable shots. I did have some with some motion blur, so I just threw those out. Handholding a 617 is hard enough, add a cramped plane too. I imagine the helicopter can go a lot slower or even stop for you. Either way have fun!

    As for exposure, that easy, should just be sunny 16 rule. I also used my Olympus with the same settings as my Fuji to meter the first few shots though.

    this is a shot of the south side of ambergris cage in Belize.

    Hol Chan Marine Reserve by WRY Photo, on Flickr

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    I keep waiting to see a photo of the Archangel popping up on this thread, but so far, no luck

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by lance_schad View Post
    Here are some examples of a rig that we set up recently for a client and an article which has a video and examples of his work, Andrew Moore Aerial Project.

    He is using an IQ180/DF+ mounted in a remote Jib on the wing of a Cesna.


    Lance
    +

    Andrew Moores photography is great. I'm a fan of his for along time.
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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    This one makes a very detailed 40 inch print. (I've shown it before.) Taken from a Cessna Caravan.

    Bill CB

    www.billcaulfeild-browne.ca
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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    And another, also from a Caravan, the Kalahari Desert. Honesty compels me to say this is a Canon file, not MF!


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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Why does it say Canon to you, Bill?

    To me it looks like a photo from the National Geographic of the 1970s and 1980s.


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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    I had a first attempt and experience with a Cambo RS with HR28mm and HR40mm aerial around Flinders Ranges SA (AU). The result was satisfactory considering that I had only the viewfinder to view my shots. But certainly there is more benefits with MF-DSLR.

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    Re: Medium Format Ariel photography?

    Last edited by Zerimar; 13th March 2014 at 10:08.
    Rick Rose
    www.RickrPhoto.com
    HasselPhase

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