Astro, aurora and moonlight.

The Mackenzie Country

Summer in the Garden

Sunflower and a bee.

Sunflower and a bee.

Of all the summer flowering annuals Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are known as the “Giants”. They can grow up to 35 cm wide on a tall branching plant that can reach up to 1.5 metres high!

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They can symbolise focus, healing and warmth. And in China symbolism extends beyond longevity to vitality, good fortune, happiness and intelligence.

Mt Aspiring National Park

Rob Roy Glacier walk, and waterfall

Waterfall and Beech Forest on the Rob Roy Glacier Walk New Zealand. B&W

The walk starts at the Raspberry Creek car park, 54 km west of Wanaka. After about 15 minutes it enters Mount Aspiring National Park. It is an easy 3-4 hours.

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The Southern Coast of New Zealand

Gemstone Beach, Southland, New Zealand

Gemstone Beach Southland New Zealand.

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Gemstone Beach is part of Te Waewae Bay, and near Tuatapere and Orepuki

Semi-precious stones such as garnet, jasper, quartz and nephrite can often be found on the beach. Subject to change of the surface. Sand to stones and back again occurs with the storms and tides of this very wild coast line. The very best of the Southern Coastline!



Wind swept trees on farmland, near Tuatapere, Southland, New Zealand

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Tuatapere is on the edge of Fiordland National Park’s wilderness. There is spectacular unspoilt scenery merging with lush rolling farmland. It is an ideal base for many wilderness activities such as tramping, fishing, whitebaiting, hunting and jet boating.

The Waiau River flows through the town before reaching Te Waewae Bay, where Hector’s dolphins and whales are often seen. There is a rich sawmilling history and the area is home to a logging museum, along with many other quaint reminders of the town’s pioneering history. 



Cosy Nook Beach Southland New Zealand.

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Cosy Nook is on the coastal road between Invercargill and Tuatapere, close to Colac Bay, Gemstone Beach and Monkey Island. And part of part of Te Waewae Bay

It is a picturesque rocky cove sheltering several fishing boats and holiday cribs and baches. It is an important cultural and historical Maori settlement site.

Pahi, as it was originally named after Ngai Tahu Chief Pahi, boasted one of the oldest and largest Maori villages in coastal Murihiku in the 1820s. Captain George Thomson, Harbourmaster of Bluff, named his property Cozy Neuk, after his homeland Scottish village. He was the first European settler.

Historic Buildings

Dunedin Railway Station, New Zealand

The Dunedin Railway Station is the grandest ‘Gingerbread House’ you’ll ever see.

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Going back to 1906, this magnificent Flemish Renaissance-style edifice increasingly entraps the public. White Oamaru limestone facings on black basalt rock, creates a timeless and dramatic air.

The grandiose style and rich embellishments earned architect George Troup the nickname of Gingerbread George.

Dunedin Railway Station – Foyer
Kokonga hut in the Oteake area of Central Otago, New Zealand
Kokonga hut in the Oteake area of Central Otago, New Zealand Originally a railway station on the Dunedin to Clyde line, it was relocated to a remote area, and is used as a mustering hut. The railway line no longer exists as such – it’s now the Otago Central Rail Trail constructed for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Native Birds of New Zealand

Takahē or notornis - a bird of the rail family, indigenous to New Zealand. Thought to be extinct, due to hunting by Māori. It was not named or described by Europeans until 1847, and then only from fossil bones. It was then rediscovered by Dr G. Orbell in 1948. Lake Orbell, a small part of a restricted area in Fiordland National Park since then, was named after him. Subsequently the only remaining population in the world has grown. There have been ups and downs. Currently the population by the lake number more than 200. Translocation has also been happening to other safe areas in New Zealand. It is still at risk, but on a steady path to larger numbers.

Takahē or notornis – a bird of the rail family, indigenous to New Zealand.

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Thought to be extinct, due to hunting by Māori. It was not named or described by Europeans until 1847, and then only from fossil bones.

Lake Orbell, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

It was then rediscovered by Dr G. Orbell in 1948. In the Murchison Mountains, Fiordland National Park. Subsequently a lake there was named after him – see a large image at my Picƒair shop >>

Managed since then the only remaining population in the world has grown. There have been ups and downs. Currently the population by the lake number more than 200. Translocation has also been happening to other safe areas in New Zealand. It is still at risk, but on a steady path to larger numbers.

Wanaka, Hawea and Upper Clutha Trees

Cabbage trees/tī kōuka and Harakeke/flax

New Zealand landscape. They will often reach a height of 12-20 metres. Very popular in Britain, Europe, and the U.S. In the former they’re known as Torquay palm.

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The flowers are very scented in early summer, and turn into bluish-white berries that birds love to eat. It is very fire-resistant. Māori used cabbage trees as a food, fibre and medicine. The leaves were woven into baskets, sandals, rope, rain capes and other items and were also made into tea to cure diarrhoea and dysentery. Lastly they were also planted to mark trails, boundaries, urupā (cemeteries) and births, since they are generally long-lived.

There are two identified species of flax in New Zealand – common flax (harakeke) and mountain flax (wharariki). (Harakeke is really a lily).They are unique to New Zealand and is one of our most ancient plant species. It grows up to 3 metres and its flower stalks can reach up to 4 metres. Tui, bellbirds/ korimako, saddlebacks/tīeke, short tailed bats/pekapeka, geckos and several types of insects enjoy nectar from the flax flower.

Flax was a valuable resource to Europeans during the 19th century because of its strength. It was New Zealand’s biggest export by far until wool and frozen mutton took over. Today, it is used in soaps, hand creams, shampoos and a range of other cosmetics. Flaxseed oil can also be found for sale.

Flax was the most important fibre plant to Māori in New Zealand. Each pā or marae typically had a ‘pā harakeke’, or flax plantation. Different varieties were specially grown for their strength, softness, colour and fibre content.

The uses of the flax fibre were numerous and varied. Weaving is now very common. Clothing, mats, plates, baskets, ropes, bird snares, lashings, fishing lines and nets were all made from flax leaves. Floats or rafts were made out of bundles of dried flower stalks. The abundant nectar from flax flowers was used to sweeten food and beverages. Flax also had many medicinal uses.

The outer layer represented the grandparents, whereas the inner layer of new shoots – the child – remained and were to be protected by the next inner layer of leaves, the parents.

Infrared of poplar trees

Poplars were first grown in New Zealand in the 1830s. Although ornamental in Central Otago they were primarily planted upwind in rather mundane straight lines to provide shelter for stock and houses. Especially from wind, but also to provide shelter from the intense summer sun .

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This is probably the Lombardy poplar, given its column-like form. And was also often planted to mark boundaries and river fords as they could be seen from a distance. This planting is very grouped thus supplying quite a magical feel, in the gathering dusk of a summer evening.

That Wanaka Tree!

A willow that was once a fence post. Now a “must see/photograph” for every tourist that comes to New Zealand.

See more of this iconic attraction in this web site>>

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Fiordland New Zealand

Waterfall, Fiordland National Park New Zealand

Waterfall, Fiordland National Park New Zealand.

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Note the tannin coloured water typical of the area. 7 metres of rain annually With over an average of appox. 200 rain-days/year.

Sunset Milford Sound New Zealand.

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Sunset side lighting on storm clouds in Long Sound in Preservation Inlet, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Fiordland. Sunset outlined clouds in Long Sound

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Sunset side lighting on storm clouds in Long Sound in Preservation Inlet, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Lake Orbell, Fiordland NAtional Park, New Zealand
Lake Orbell, Fiordland National Park. Buy at Picƒair. A panorama 6727 px wide.

Situated in the Murchison Mountains. Home of the takahē or notornis. One of New Zealand’s endangered species.

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The Clutha River Area (inc. Wanaka), Otago, New Zealand

California poppy on the bank of the Clutha River, Albert Town, New Zealand Native to the United States and Mexico, it seemed to become quite established in the dry Central Otago climate, during the gold rush days. Locally it is sometimes referred to as the cemetery poppy. As this was where it first became established.

Upper Clutha River near Albert Town Wanaka. California Poppies in December are a delight!

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The Upper Clutha Basin, and the Clutha River.

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The Cardrona, Hawea, Makarora and Matukituki rivers all feed into the Clutha Mata-Au (formerly Molyneaux). The longest river in the South Island of New Zealand. Wanaka airport is to the left, and Wanaka township, out of sight to the right.

Hawea Flat, New Zealand aerial photo.

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Tangential winter lighting reveals the ancient fluvial processes associated with rivers and streams. And now overlaid by relentless Europeanisation in the name of agriculture.

Paddling the Cromwell Gorge, Clutha River, New Zealand

Paddling the Cromwell Gorge, Clutha River, New Zealand. Circa 1985.

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This wild river was no more when Lake Dunstan was formed, beginning in April 1992. It is a man-made lake and reservoir and was formed on the Clutha River as a result of the construction of the Clyde Dam.

The Dart River and Kinloch

Dawn at Kinloch, at the head of Lake Wakatipu. Lake Wakatipu is an inland lake in the South Island of New Zealand. Many perhaps relate more to the name Queenstown. On the eastern shore. Kinloch is at the head of the lake to the west, right beside where the Dart River, the primary tributary, feeds it. Kinloch can be reached by road via the township of Glenorchy The name Wakatipu comes from the original Māori name, Whakatipu wai-māori
Dawn at Kinloch, at the head of Lake Wakatipu.

Dawn at Kinloch, at the head of Lake Wakatipu.

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Lake Wakatipu is an inland lake in the South Island of New Zealand. Many perhaps relate more to the name Queenstown. On the eastern shore. Kinloch is at the head of the lake to the west, right beside where the Dart River, the primary tributary, feeds it. Kinloch can be reached by road via the township of Glenorchy.

Morning and evening views of Lake Wanaka

Pastel sunset glow on Lake Wanaka Lake Wanaka's Roys Bay in the evening. With Black Peak in the distance
An early morning springtime view of Lake Wanaka

A springtime morning view of Lake Wanaka.

The Buchanan Mountains from Roys Bay, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand.

A similar view in black and white.

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Black Peak in the center is often mistaken for Mt Aspiring.

Pastel sunset glow on Lake Wanaka.

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Lake Wanaka’s Roys Bay in the evening. With Black Peak in the distance.

Lake Wanaka from Beacon Point.

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Beacon Point is simply a very large and shallow area on Lake Wanaka’s shore. There is a permanent red light hundreds of meters from the point to warn boaties.

Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka.

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Glendhu Bay is a short drive west from Wānaka, Otago, New Zealand. It is on the road to Treble Cone ski field and Mount Aspiring National Park. The bay has a motor camp that is popular with New Zealand locals over the New Year holiday period. Patronage numbers in the many thousands.

Buchanan Mountain Range, from Wanaka

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Early Autumn Photography

Green leaves turning to the typical gold of autumn
Green turning to the typical gold of autumn.
Note the softness. In camera, which gives a sharper look in this case, of segments of background – bit like pieces of a jigsaw
Green leaves turning to the typical gold of autumn, in Wanaka
Soft, out of camera, and then applied again in software
Green leaves turning to the typical gold of autumn, in Wanaka. High key filter
High key filter, post processing

Not every moment of Easter weekend 2021 was spent in the woods…

An un-seasonal nor wester on Lake Wanaka, and a dog with a stick
An unseasonal nor-wester on Lake Wanaka.
But every dog has it’s day
A moody clouds as prelude to the official autumn season on Lake Wanaka
A moody prelude to the official autumn season on Lake Wanaka
Hand stand in the wind, Lake Wanaka
Hand stand in the wind – gusts of 120 km/hr!
Focus stack of two images combined. Autumn colors
Two images combined
Claret colored tree in autumn, with lichen on the trunk
Lichen with claret!
dead birch tree leaves
Perhaps more dead than an “alive autumn look
Pink rose in the rain, with rain drops
Be prepared to get wet in the quest for soft light
White peonei
Source image for the mandala style one below
Bright red autumn foliage
Non distracting background known as bokeh.
More easily achieved if the background is someway behind the subject.
Plus lens wide open
Pink rose close up with raindrops
Roses in certain light are not always as they seem
Orange rose in Dunedin Gardens

And lastly some odds and ends for the week

University of Otago Campus
University of Otago Campus. Post processing involved some playing with infra red
Computer manipulated image of a white peonei
Once was a peonei
Decorative blue piano in Cromwell Mall
Nothing to do with autumn, but seen in Cromwell town

None of these blog page images are listed in our shop. Nor are they likely to be. But if you’re interested in purchasing, please note which image and email Donald so I can advise you with a price and options.

Queenstown NZ and the iconic Remarkables Mountain Range

The most delightful backdrop for visitors to Queenstown is the Remarkables mountain range.

Loved alike by New Zealanders and tourists in all seasons, they’re best viewed from the town. The best viewing times are from mid morning onwards and especially at dusk.

These iconic photos were all made just on sunset in early winter

The Remarkables mountain range, Queenstown New Zealand
P1170216-remarkables [the same as the above featured image]
Request a price for any image now. Please note & quote the description
The Remarkables mountain range, Queenstown New Zealand
P1170223-remarkables
Request a price for any image now. Please note & quote the description
The Remarkables mountain range, Queenstown New Zealand
P1170226-remarkables
Request a price for any image now. Please note & quote the description
The Remarkables mountain range, Queenstown New Zealand
remarkables-b&w-1

None of these blog page images are listed in our shop yet, but if you happen to be interested please note which image and email Donald so he can process the various options, and advise you with a link when completed

A year of photography – 2019

Autumn at Glendhu Bay, Wanaka, New Zealand

There were various reasons for lots of local NZ travel in 2019, and fortunately I had the time often to not rush trips across the likes of Central Otago, e.g. Wanaka to Dunedin and return.

The images below are very roughly in chronological order, but being lots of them I’ve uploaded with speed in mind – life in 2020 is nice and full, and sitting at a keyboard is best kept to a minimum. Enjoy!

Silver Peaks, Dunedin
Silver Peaks range behind Dunedin on a day tramp in the damp, which helps engender a sense of mystery
Sheep on a Southland Road
On various days I’d help an old friend Wayne survey road upgrades in Southland, and so I got to see lots more of rural NZ than I knew existed, as usually the surfaces that needed to be marked out for upgrades were on anything but main roads.

These were long days with lots of water needed to keep hydrated.
Cook Strait looking back at the South Island
An evening on Cook Strait heading to Wellington on a roadie with an old and dear friend. This is looking back at the South Island
Rowing on Wellington harbour
Wellington harbour
A relocated railway station in Central Otago now serving as a musterer's farming hut
A relocated railway station in Central Otago now serving as a musterer’s farming hut. Bordering the Oteake Conservation Area
Lan Yuan, Dunedin Chinese Garden
Lan Yuan, Dunedin Chinese Garden, in Dunedin. The garden commemorates the contribution of Chinese people to the history and culture of the city.

I met my cousin and husband down there so it was a delightful family outing looking at some strong history, with them both and my son
On the Rock and Pillar Range looking west
A side trip and camp out in my Land Cruiser camper, to altitude on the Rock and Pillar Range – the last of the block mountains between the Cardrona Valley, Wanaka and Dunedin. A very windy area.
Camping on the Rock and Pillar Range
Luxury with a cold beer out of the vehicle fridge, on the Rock and Pillar Range watching the sunset.

It got very windy in the wee hours though, and despite turning the truck around so it faced into the wind, to get a good sleep I drove a few km and parked up in a gully out of it, and woke to heavy rain.
And when needing a bathroom
old gold diggings on the Hawkdun Range, Oteake Conservation Area
Another evening camp out – this time at old gold diggings on the Hawkdun Range, Oteake Conservation Area.

I’d climbed up to here in very cold winds to get some photos, and then descended in the dark back to my welcome little mountain hut on wheels, aka Cafe Toyota.

Mt Aspiring in the background
Lower Rock and Pillar Range
Lower Rock and Pillar Range – Butterfly country once experienced and now imagined
awning on Land Cruiser. camper
My new awning on the camper – should have made one years ago for the simple reason that in rain the end of the bed would get wet.

Note no poles and my 100 year old industrial sewing machine got an airing
Sunset from the Hawkduns
Sunset from the Hawkduns.

Just myself, my three legged tripod and some nearby cattle to enjoy a perfect evening while on my way to Dunedin
The now empty Cadburys chocolate factory in Dunedin
The now empty Cadburys chocolate factory in Dunedin.

Site of a new hospital coming up.
Classic car in Wanaka
During the year I finished off a new tire related web site in Wanaka, and so was delighted one day to spot this beauty outside the new building
Frog at Glendhu Bay, Wanaka
Best image from a sunset photoshoot at Glendhu Bay, Wanaka
University of Otago clock tower
University of Otago where my son has studied for several years. A truly beautiful campus
Christchurch cathedral statue
I had to visit Christchurch a few times during the year and since I’d never seen the city post earthquake I predictably ended up visiting the Cathedral ruins in the Square
Christchurch public toilets near the Square at night
Christchurch public toilets near the Square at night
Christchurch Art Gallery
Christchurch Public Art Gallery
Historic gold reserve cottage at Macraes Otago
Historic gold reserve at Macraes Otago
Luna Light Festival fairies - midwinter, Queenstown
Luna Light Festival fairies – midwinter, Queenstown
The smog of winter in the Manuherikia River Valley, Central Otago
The smog of winter in the Manuherikia River Valley, Central Otago
Mt Tutoko, Fiordland National Park
Mt Tutoko, Fiordland National Park – photo from the jet service into Queenstown from CHC
Wintery tarn and Hawkdun Mountains, Oteake Conservation Park
Wintery tarn and Hawkdun Mountains, Oteake Conservation Park, on the edge of the Maniototo
World Loppet Merino Muster race 2019
The front runners at the annual World Loppet Merino Muster race, the Snow Farm, Cardrona Valley, Wanaka.

These world class athletes on cross country skis are well into their 42 km race, and typically average speeds of up to 22kph over that distance
native kaka at Orokonui Sanctuary near Dunedin
During the year I was appointed onto the Otago Conservation Board where we represent the public and advise the Dept of Conservation on select matters and strategic decision making.

As such I get to do field trips, and here is a native kaka at Orokonui Sanctuary near Dunedin.
Young lovers in the sunset, near the mouth of the Catlins River, Coastal Otago
My son and girlfriend near the mouth of the Catlins River, Coastal Otago.

I had a large print done for him of this image as a Christmas present, and it was well received.
Nevis Valley gold dredge pond tree
Yet another visit to a certain tree in the Nevis Valley – it’s my photo nemesis I think: satisfaction eludes me capturing the cold emotion of this old historic gold dredging pond, but I’m getting closer.

This visit represented the coldest I’d been in 2019.
Nevis Valley gold miners cottage
Nevis Valley gold miners cottage
Lake Hawea from a day trip up Isthmus Peak
Lake Hawea from a day trip up Isthmus Peak
Otago Conservation Board field trip Matukituki Valley 2019
Otago Conservation Board field trip Matukituki Valley – me on the right
Proposed conservation land on Glenaray Station
Proposed conservation land on Glenaray Station Otago/Southland. An inspection visit by helicopter pre submission.

One huge area – one hour flying only covered a fifth of the farm.
Lake Wanaka flood Dec 2019.
Lake Wanaka flood Dec 2019.

Last event 1999, and thankfully this one stopped short of the shops, just!
Glendhu Bay autumn ripples
My favourite capture for the year – there I was all set up at Glendhu Bay for a more sedate shot and a jet ski came by causing some ripples I did not think I’d benefit from, however they made for something much better.
Dunedin Gardens rose
Wishing you all the very best for you and yours for 2020 – may you always have time to smell the roses

The Dunedin Botanic Garden

I often go to Dunedin for many varied reasons, and one of the delights of every trip is a visit or two to the oldest botanical garden in New Zealand, which was established in 1863.

There are two parts of the Dunedin Botanic Garden, linked indiscernibly, known as the upper gardens and the lower gardens which merge nicely with the University of Otago campus.  View Google Map

The initial garden was established on a site now occupied by the University but due to extensive flooding in 1868, the gardens were moved to their current site in 1869.

White rhododendron at the Dunedin Botanic Garden
A rhododendron typical of the more naturalistic upper garden, where there is an arboretum, rhododendron dell, native plant and geographic collections.
Dunedin Botanic Gardens
There are over 6,800 plant species
Dunedin Botanic Gardens
It covers 28 hectares of hillside and flat land to the north of the city
Dunedin Botanic Gardens
Dunedin Botanic Garden
The Garden is a preferred location for serious botanical studies as it is home to a significant number of plant collections
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
In July 2010, the Dunedin Botanic Garden was awarded a rank of “Garden of International Significance” by the New Zealand Gardens Trust thus becoming one of only five gardens nationwide to be bestowed with this honour.
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Garden worker at Dunedin Botanic Garden
The resources dedicated to the Gardens are significant, yet unlike many similar gardens in large cities overseas such as in Vancouver, entry to the Dunedin Botanic Gardens is free
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden, the roof of the Winter Garden Glasshouse
The roof of the Winter Garden Glasshouse – open 10am to 4pm, with nearby alpine house and toilets 9am to 4pm, and the cafe 9.30am to 4.30pm
Students studying in the Dunedin Botanic Gardens
Each University year Dunedin city hosts 40,000 plus students and with the Gardens in close proximity scenes like this are common place. In short they offer an immense and peaceful place for relaxation and study, while also providing pathways to North Dunedin where there are lots of student accomodation flats
Dunedin Botanic Garden - Peter Pan statue
Peter Pan and is that Wendy whispering in his ear?
Dunedin Botanic Garden decorative hedges
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden -Japanese shelter
A feature of the flat lower Garden
Fantails ofter frequent the Dunedin Botanic Gardens
Fantails often frequent the Dunedin Botanic Gardens
South African section of the upper  Dunedin Botanic Gardens
South African section of the upper Gardens
The formal rose garden and camellia collection in the lower Dunedin Botanic Gardens
The formal rose garden and camellia collection in the lower Gardens
Magnolia in the upper Dunedin Botanic Gardens
Magnolia in the upper Gardens
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