the two top loves in my life come together finally in this new impression of mine...the eastern sierra mountains, and the milky way...and pictured here is hot creek from brees point with the eastern sierra mountains as a backdrop, all under the stars and the colorful milky way, giving this impression its name, on the surface: "celestial brees"
but there is always a deeper meaning for me...
before i was a photographer, i was a hugely avid backcountry snowboarder. with the assistance of my trusty splitboard, climbing up high mountain peaks in the wee-hours of the morning in the dead cold of winter, so as to reach the summit and snowboard down before the snow started to become less stable from the sunshine heating it (unstable snow means higher risk of white death: being buried by an avalanche)...and the mountains of the eastern sierra nevada were my playground...so many descents, so many 12,000-14,000ft peaks...
btw, a splitboard is a special piece of backcountry snow gear that is part skis and part snowboard. it was created as a superior climbing tool for snowboarders for ascents of peaks, with the purpose of snowboarding down from the top. it looks like a snowboard with regular bindings when put together (for riding mode), but comes apart, literally splitting in half to become two skis with free heal bindings (split mode for climbing).
in split mode, climbing skins (friction pads for climbing) are placed and attached under each half. and once your boots are clicked into the bindings, you have a pair of skis under your feet that can be used to cross-country ski up fairly steep terrain without breaking down through into deep snow (postholing), thus climbing slopes much more swiftly and efficiently, while exuding much less effort than would be the case with snowshoes...plus no need to carry them up or down the mountain, no extra weight or bulk, as they are under your feet the whole time. and once getting to the top, you put the two skis together and reassemble the bindings into riding mode as a snowboard and you then snowboard down the mountain...and if the terrain gets too flat at the bottom to keep up momentum when exiting, it can be put back into split mode and used to cross country ski out the rest of the way, with snow permitting of course...
and i must say, there is nothing truly as amazingly satisfying as earning your turns in the snow...in other words, waking up in the middle of the night and climbing under the stars up a mountain unassisted under your own manpower, taking all morning with the goal not to peak the summit, but instead to get one single pristine and perfect ride down from the top...a silent swoosh after the first turn in steep, and deep freshies...all untracked glistening powdery snow...a floating and gliding sensation unmatched. breathing though face shots of crystalline white fluff after each turn, so close to being like a bird flying through clouds...catching air off a small cliff, down through chutes and across open glades to weaving in and out of trees...
and it is with feelings similar to surfing a tube, but so much longer of a ride, and much faster (and with speed, more dangerous). coming down a mountain with your hair on fire, as high as can be on adrenaline with a rush better than any drug, and you don't need to stick a vein to get it, for this high is all natural and excitingly soothing, all smiles and giggles...your body is left totally exhausted in sating perfection...and after this long 20+ hour day, you are happy beyond reason as you lay down your worn out body to welcomed rest and thankful sleep, to dream of doing it all again...
my god, how i miss all that...but i had to walk away from it all about ten years ago when my body would just not let me do all the extremes my mind wanted to savor and experience. plus, my partner in crime, the dude (my golden pup who passed in 2018) was also getting older and starting to struggle with old age like me too...father time cannot be cheated, and he was telling me to take my foot off the accelerator and slow the "f" down or else die...still i had to keep one-upping myself each trip out, going bigger, steeper, faster, more narrow chutes, bigger air off bigger cliffs, more danger around each corner, more chances of white death...just before i threw in the towel permanently, i even had plans of snowboarding off a huge 1000ft cliff and opening a parachute to safely float down to the bottom (cuckoo, cuckoo)...i was desiring undertaking more risks that were inviting the undertaker to join me all too unexpectedly...
it was maddening altogether. and risks kept escalating. still, i could not slow down. i was chasing the monkey (as they say in addiction) and the monkey was going to do me in for sure. but i could not back off even a little and get the same excitement...it would be like a kid wanting the rush of a huge rollercoaster, but instead has to settle for a water slide...both are fun all the same, but not at all even close to the same adrenaline...but if i did not slow down, i knew in my heart that i would not be around much longer, my life was going to be cut short, suffering the same fate as many of my mountaineering friends...
so i quit cold turkey. literally put away all my gear into storage and pad-locked the door...and have not done a single backcountry peak in 10 years. sure, i miss it. it is like walking away from an old girlfriend and trying to never look back no matter how she beckons me (come back, please)...avoiding things that remind me of her, even when everything reminds me of her (reason for the choice of the tune above), "always something there to remind me" by naked eyes...
because how can i forget the mountains when there's always something there to remind me of them...still, stubborn as i am, i tried to stay away. i avoided everything and anything that brought back my memories of the sierra. and out of the blue unexpectedly, a new gig fell upon me to replace snowboarding: photography...so i entrenched myself in my new love of photography.
i forgot about the mountains, and instead focused on pictures of trees, and waterfalls, and seascapes, and canyons, and exotic ancient statues, and the stars and the milky way. travelling the world and capturing special images from my mind's eye using my camera lens. and this is the reason i believe in my heart that i have no beautiful photos of the mountains and the snow until now. i just did not want to be reminded of what i missed so desperately and dearly...so i could not go up to the eastern sierra and take pictures of all my favorite peaks, all those fun times in the mountains with the dude would have come rushing back...
and with capturing this new impression, "celestial brees", my fears were realized, as exactly what i was afraid of happening, happened: all those fond memories did come rushing back...abruptly slapping me in the face and making me realize, my god how i miss those days in the mountains, and i wish i could have them back, just a couple more runs down the northface in deep fresh powder, i wanted so badly to feel more of that celestial breeze...
but in the frigid cold under such a beautiful canopy of celestial light, a starry night like i've never seen before here, i discovered how stupid i was, and had been this past decade. as i discovered beyond a doubt that the celestial feeling is inside me. it is part of me. i am embracing it instead of running and escaping from it. i want to relive those great days, only now in new photographs i take of these favorite old alpine places. and add pictures of those mountains under the stars, the other huge love of mine. embrace my old girlfriend in a new and different way instead of running away from her.
embrace those beautiful memories of long and beautiful days spent with the dude climbing and snowboarding down high sierra snow-capped peaks, while adding new memories of days spent hiking those same peaks with besos (my new australian shepherd pup) and my camera taking pictures in the mountains that come from my heart with these new experiences, especially under the milky way and the stars (just like today's new impression)...i see the celestial breeze was always inside me (duh), it never went away, i know that now, and i have emphatically rediscovered it!
and here are a few more quotes from bodhinku to deeper realize this meaning, because honestly, the celestial breeze is truly inside each of us, you just need to see it and believe in yourself...
"i feel like sometimes i cannot live with the mountains, as my old life style and extreme activities in the mountains might kill me...and i cannot live without the mountains, because they are such a big part of me now that i cannot deny, though i have tried, man i have tried..." ― bodhinku, with or without
"all of this which is happening is just a tiny insignificant moment in time...what is more significant is what you have inside of yourself, that is all that is beautiful...find it, realize it, and listen to that inner voice, because you will find the truth inside of you...let go, accept, and just love what you have now, and who you are inside...that is the message and deeper meaning" ― bodhinku, a truth inside
"take in the stars, the milky way, the universe, everything in reflections of light and memories..breathe, let it be, for.this is true meaning right now, embrace it and fall in love with that celestial peace welling up inside you" ― bodhinku, celestial peace
"take a deep breath, inhaling slowly, counting one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four...and then slowly exhale counting the same 1001-1002-1003-1004...repeat this 222 times...and i guarantee you will feel better about everything, because you will see that just breathing is heavenly..." ― bodhinku, heavenly
"quietly in silence, i adore the milky way...i have been obsessed with staring at her beauty for these past couple of years. i am amazed and fascinated by how beautiful she is, no matter what position in the sky, or location on this planet she is found. and i am further obsessed in trying to create photographic impressions of her to show the world just how much i am in love with everything about her...she is the most beautiful thing my eyes have ever witnessed, glowing and lighting up my sky like nothing ever has before, or ever will again. she speaks to me with her silence, so much clearer than any mere mortal words with her thoughts permeating into my own. i love being with her all night long, just humbled by her grace and majesty, so magical and mystical, as she sings her silent songs to me and blinks at me with a billions eyes full of love...i feel her, i see her, i listen to her, and then i simply breathe, and my spirit is wrapped up into the whispers of her sighs, and i exhale her love...i simply adore her. all of her" ― bodhinku, milky way silence
"i have missed backcountry snowboarding in the eastern sierra mountains for so many years now, and there is always something to remind me of these beautiful peaks i have come to know so intimately, and they are never far from the forefront of my consciousness...so it is finally about time i began to photograph them in my own personal style under the stars..." ― bodhinku, missing the sierra
STORY BEHIND THE IMPRESSION
"realizing lately how badly i really miss split-boarding in the mountains...feeling the celestial breeze in the crisp air under the stars at the trailhead...a dawn patrol departure to skin up and peak a summit before the snow becomes unstable from the sun heating it...pause for a moment at the top to turn the skis back into a snowboard...then with a deep breath, and an exhale: launch...poof, magic of the exuberant glide down the north face with a rush of adrenaline and face shots of cold white powder, floating, floating, floating on my own celestial breeze in the sunshine...my god, how i miss those feelings..." ― bodhinku, celestial breeze
captured in the early morning hours of april 27, 2020, this is hot creek with the eastern sierra mountains in the background in an alpine glow, so beautifully lighting up this exquisite california wilderness under the stars and the milky way, such a beautiful thing i feel everyone should take the time to try to see...from left to right: mount mcgee, mount morrison, laurel mountain, and bloody mountain can all be seen in this image. and i have skied two of these peaks, mcgee and bloody, with my old pal, the dude years ago before he passed and when we were both able...and the lineup of mountains here is a common view you encounter if you notice the scenery while driving to mammoth mountain...
on this night a couple weeks ago, the starry sky over the eastern sierra was the clearest, and cleanest i have ever seen it. i swear i could see the colors in the core of the milky way with my own naked eyes instead of having to rely on my camera lens to pick it up. and my camera setting were amazing at f1.4, 13 seconds at 1250 iso, very low noise level needed to capture the clarity i desired. many reasons for this, one is that on this night it was cold out, bitterly cold to me at 27 degrees fahrenheit, which truly helps clarity with less moisture in the air...but i think it was more-so the benefit of many less cars on the roads a few hundred miles away in southern california. all the pollution that drifts its way up into the sierra via wind patterns is not present right now. and because of the california lockdown, so few people are travelling now in vehicles, so tons less pollution...and i truly believe that my eyes and photo you see here got the benefit from this...i was blessed to get to see and capture such an amazing night sky over the eastern sierra wrapped in an alpine glow...
this area is virtually an unspoiled place in california, especially at night when all the mammoth tourists and visitors go to sleep and the commitment of noise falls to zero, and the silence of celestial peace rises to perfection...when you visit here, under these conditions, you will truly know what "one day" was meant to be...
MORE QUOTES FOR EXTRA MEANING
the next song selection is from my favorite u2 album of all time, "joshua tree" which actually has the album's cover photos shot in the eastern sierra not too far down the road from this scene in my image here (it was not shot in joshua tree, but rather in darwin, ca)..."with or without you" by u2...(just click on any of words in the blue links to listen to the song)...i feel like sometimes i cannot live with the mountains, as my old life style and extreme activities in the mountains might kill me...and i cannot live without the mountains, because they are such a big part of me now that i cannot deny, though i have tried, man i have tried...
"see the stone set in your eyes. see the thorn twist in your side. i'll wait for you. sleight of hand and twist of fate, on a bed of nails she makes me wait. and i wait, without you. with or without you, with or without you...through the storm we reach the shore, you give it all but i want more. and i'm waiting for you, with or without you. with or without you i can't live, with or without you...and you give yourself away, and you give yourself away...and you give, and you give, and you give yourself away...my hands are tied, my body bruised, she's got me with nothing to win and nothing left to lose...and you give yourself away, and you give yourself away, and you give, and you give, and you give yourself away...with or without you. with or without you, i can't live with or without you, with or without you, with or without you, i can't live with or without you...with or without you" ― u2, with or without you
"do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate on the present moment. be where you are; otherwise you will miss your life. meditate. live purely. be quiet. do your work with mastery. like the stars, come out from behind the clouds! shine" ― siddhartha gautama buddha, the dhammapada
"if you are quiet enough, you will hear the flow of the universe. you will feel its rhythm. go with this flow. you will notice things. the path to happiness lies ahead" ― siddhartha gautama buddha, the dhammapada
"he who defends with love will be secure; heaven will save him, and earth will protect him with love" ― lao tzu, tao te ching
“the reason why heaven and earth are able to endure and continue this long is because they do not live for themselves” ― lao tzu, tao te ching
"everything under heaven and on earth is a sacred vessel and cannot be controlled. trying to control leads to ruin. trying to grasp, we lose. allow your life to unfold naturally. know that it too is a vessel of perfection. just as you breathe in and breathe out, there is a time for being ahead and a time for being behind; a time for being in motion and a time for being at rest; a time for being vigorous and a time for being exhausted; a time for being safe and a time for being in danger" ― lao tzu, tao te ching
"the madness of love is the greatest of all celestial blessings" ― plato, phaedrus
"we sit in silence and watch the stars, i suppose because there are no words, not in all the languages on earth, that can properly describe the celestial feeling of being in love. and perhaps those little burning lights out there in the dark, are the closest we come to something that does" ― beau taplin, the wild heart
"the lyrics of this love are etched upon the walls of this beating heart the melody echoing within me during waking hours and dream filled sleep. i must have written them in the stars many lifetimes ago with these unsteady hands filled with longing, inspiration found in the unseen and the unspoken, that to this day ring deep within my aching soul...the celestial wind whispers a lonely lullaby over the mountain peaks and through the trees, seeming to call your name somehow into my sleeping soul. i wonder if you know that you live there, nestled in between the breaths of air and beating of my heart, where time stands still and eternity waits on the edge of the horizon. i wonder if you know that it’s you that holds me even while you are so far out of reach; you who are the lyrics of a love song etched deep within the walls of this aching heart, singing a timeless song written in the stars" ― c. ara campbell, written in the stars
"without taking a step, he would fall deep into the place that he was always meant to be. here, intoxicating, fresh air would fill his lungs all in one easy breathe with a depth that eased him and soothed him to the bottom of his soul. he would be the type of man to get lost in the scatter of her stars and never tire of tracing her endless skies" ― c. ara campbell, in the scatter of her stars
"book, when i close you
life itself opens...
book, you haven't been able
to enwrap me,
you haven't covered me
with celestial impressions,
you haven't been able
to trap my eyes between covers,
i leave you so i can populate groves
with the hoarse family of my song,
to work burning metals
or to eat grilled meat
at the fireside in the mountains.
i love books
that are explorers,
books with forest and snow,
depth and sky,
the book of spiders
that employs thought
to weave its venomous wires
to trap the young
and unsuspecting fly.
book, free me.
i don't want to be entombed
like a volume,
i don't come from a tome,
my poems don't eat poems,
they're nurtured by the open air
and fed by the earth
and by people.
book, let me wander the road
with dust in my low shoes
and without mythology:
go back to the library
while i go into the stars.
i've learned to take life
to love after a single kiss,
and i didn't teach anything to anyone
except what i myself lived,
what i shared with others,
what i fought along with them:
what i expressed from all of us in my song" ― pablo neruda, all the odes
"if you concentrate always on the present, you'll be a happy person. you'll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens...life will be a party for you, a celestial festival, because life is the moment we're living right now” ― paulo coelho, the alchemist
"we are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. life is eternal. we have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. this is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity" ― paulo coelho, the alchemist
"to see this mysterious existence, to feel it in the deepest core of your heart, and immediately a prayer arises—a prayer that has no words to it, a prayer that is silence, a prayer that doesn’t say anything but feels tremendous, a prayer that arises out of you like fragrance, a prayer that is like music with no words, celestial music, or what pythagoras used to call “the harmony of the stars,” the melody of the whole. when that music starts rising in you, that’s what the secret of the golden flower is all about: suddenly a flower bursts open in you, a golden lotus. you have arrived, you have come home" ― osho, the secret of secrets
"if freckles were lovely, and day was night, and measles were nice and a lie warn't a lie, life would be delight, but things couldn't go right for in such a sad plight i wouldn't be i...if earth was heavenly and now was hence, and past was present, and false was true, there might be some sense but i'd be in suspense for on such a pretense, you wouldn't be you...if fear was plucky, and globes were square, and dirt was cleanly and tears were glee, things would seem fair, yet they'd all despair, for if here was there, we would not be we" ― e. e. cummings, 100 selected poems
"at present i absolutely want to paint a starry sky. it often seems to me that night is still more richly coloured than the day; having hues of the most intense violets, blues and greens. if only you pay attention to it, you will see that certain stars are lemon-yellow, others pink or a green, blue and forget-me-not brilliance. and without my expatiating on this theme, it is obvious that putting little white dots on the blue-black is not enough to paint a starry sky" ― vincent van gogh, letters to theo
"looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as i dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map...why, i ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of france? just as we take a train to get to paris or calais, we take death to reach a star. we cannot get to a star while we are alive, any more than we can take the train when we are dead. so to me it seems possible that fevers, tuberculosis and cancer are the celestial means of locomotion. just as steamboats, buses and railways are the terrestrial means. to die quietly of old age would be to go there on foot" ― vincent van gogh, letters to theo
"it hurts to let go. sometimes it seems the harder you try to hold on to something or someone the more it wants to get away. you feel like some kind of criminal for having felt, for having wanted. for having wanted to be wanted. it confuses you, because you think that your feelings were wrong and it makes you feel so small because it's so hard to keep it inside when you let it out and it doesn't coma back. you're left so alone that you can't explain. damn, there's nothing like that, is there? i've been there and you have too. you're nodding your head" ― henry rollins, roomanitarian
"i definitely learned a lesson this time. i know that i can be broken. i am not as tough as i thought. i see it now. at this point, it's the only thing good that came out of all of this. i know myself better now and know what i have to do " ― henry rollins, see a grown man cry
"we are wont to imagine rare and delectable places in some remote and more celestial corner of the system, behind the constellation of cassiopeia's chair, far from noise and disturbance. i discovered that my house actually had its site in such a withdrawn, but forever new and unprofaned, part of the universe." ― henry david thoreau, walden
"the winds which passed over my dwelling were such as sweep over the rides of mountains, bearing the broken strains, or celestial parts only, of terrestrial music" ― henry david thoreau, walden
"the heart, that dark celestial flower, bursts into a mysterious bloom. you would not give up that shade for all the light in the world! the angel soul is there, forever there; if she goes away, it is only to return; she fades away in a dream and reappears in reality. you feel an approaching warmth, she is there. you overflow with serenity, gaiety, and ecstasy; you are radiant in your darkness. and the thousand little cares! the trifles that are enormous in this void. the most ineffable accents of the womanly voice used to comfort you, and replacing for you the vanished universe! you are caressed through the soul. you see nothing but you feel yourself adored. it is paradise of darkness" ― victor hugo, les miserables
"he saw god’s footprint upon the treadle of the loom, and spoke it; and therefore his shipmates called him mad. so man’s insanity is heaven’s sense; and wandering from all mortal reason, man comes at last to that celestial thought, which, to reason, is absurd and frantic; and weal or woe, feels then uncompromised, indifferent as his god" ― herman melville, moby dick
"there was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
the earth, and every common sight,
to me did seem
apparelled in celestial light,
the glory and the freshness of a dream.
it is not now as it hath been of yore;
turn wheresoe'er i may,
by night or day,
the things which i have seen i now can see no more.
the rainbow comes and goes,
and lovely is the rose;
the moon doth with delight
look round her when the heavens are bare;
waters on a starry night
are beautiful and fair;
the sunshine is a glorious birth;
but yet i know, where’er i go,
that there hath past away a glory from the earth." ― william wordsworth, intimations of Immortality
"wherever snow falls, or water flows, or birds fly, wherever day and night meet in twilight, wherever the blue heaven is hung by clouds, or sown with stars, wherever are forms with transparent boundaries, wherever are outlets into celestial space, wherever is danger, and awe, and love, there is beauty. plenteous as rain, shed for thee." ― ralph waldo emerson, nature and selected essays
“he wanted all to lie in an ecstasy of peace; i wanted all to sparkle and dance in a glorious jubilee. i said his celestialness would be only half alive; and he said mine would be drunk: i said i should fall asleep in his; and he said he could not breathe in mine" ― emily bronte, wuthering heights
“the best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the celestial bodies, nature and god. because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that god wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. as longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, i know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. and i firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles..." ― anne frank, the diary of a young girl
"i have realized; it is during the times i am far outside my element that i experience myself the most. that i see and feel who i really am, the most...that's why i enjoy taking myself out of my own element, my own comfort zone, and hurling myself out into the unknown. because it's during those scary moments, those unsure steps taken, that i am able to see that i'm like a comet hitting a new atmosphere: suddenly i illuminate magnificently and fire dusts begin to fall off of me! i discover a smile i didn't know i had, i uncover a feeling that i didn't know existed in me...i see myself. i'm a shooting star. a meteor shower. but i'm not going to die out. i guess i'm more like a comet then. i'm just going to keep on coming back" ― c. joybell c
"i prefer by far, warmth and softness to mere brilliancy and coldness. some people remind me of sharp dazzling diamonds. valuable but lifeless and loveless. others, of the simplest field flowers, with hearts full of dew and with all the tints of celestial beauty reflected in their modest petals" ― anais nin, the early diary
“it's clear to me now that i have been moving toward you and you toward me for a long time. though neither of us was aware of the other before we met, there was a kind of mindless certainty bumming blithely along beneath our ignorance that ensured we would come together. like two solitary birds flying the great prairies by celestial reckoning, all of these years and lifetimes we have been moving toward one another" ― robert james waller, the bridges of madison county
“his eyes are blue, and blue eyes up close are a celestial phenomenon: nebulae as seen through telescopes, the light of unnamed stars diffused through dusts and elements and endlessness. layers of light. blue eyes are starlight" ― laini taylor, night of cake & puppets
“a planet of playthings, we dance on the strings of powers we cannot perceive. the stars aren't aligned or the gods are malign, blame is better to give than receive...you can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice. if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. you can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill. i will choose a path that's clear. i will choose free will" ― neil peart (rush drums), free will
"there is another language beyond language, another celestial place beyond heaven. precious gems come from another mine, the heart draws light from another source...what's inside" ― jalaluddin rumi, the soul of rumi
the impression which you see here is comprised of two separate exposures taken within a couple hours of each other and put together as one...in my photography i always use filters to create longer exposure effects and to balance the light in my composition in camera...i often use as many as four filters at time, and i always use at least one filter...no filters were used in the exposure of the stars, but for the exposure of hot creak and the snow-capped peaks, to get the effects and balance i was looking for, i used two filters...
for this, i chose to use the magnetic 3.0nd progrey antarctica filter (and progrey g-120z holder) to allow for a much longer exposure (10 stops) to smooth out the waters of hot creek and allow for most steam coming up from hot spots to be present in the image...plus in combination with the 0.9gnd progrey g120 aurora filter to help balance in-camera overall the image the way i envisioned it, as the sky and snowy-white tops of the mountains were much more brighter, about 3 stops brighter than the rest of the darker parts, especially the shadows of the trees and cliff sides in the foreground of the image composition...
i wish to openly thank my sponsors who have always supported me through both the good and bad times...for truly this long exposure impression would not be possible without the use of my trusty dolica tripods in combination with the progreyusa filters which i use with every photo i take...
"in sweet silence of the star light, i see her radiance glowing bright above, i feel her angelic innocence, i play in her magical wilderness...i know my focus is always up to her" ― bodhinku, bright above
"contemplate without thinking. stop the world. slow down everything. shut off the noise. relax. seize this moment. reconnect. feel and sense what surrounds you. listen to all the colors of light that envelope you. see the melody and harmony that floats about unnoticed. taste the solitude of all this wonderment. smell the beautiful silence. now discover your peaceful serenity. then, reach out and touch your faith with all your senses. this is my world. awaken!" ― bodhinku, my world
above all else as always, i hope this message and impression find you well.
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