Tag Archives: Rhein

Train with Castle Rejected! German Outtakes Part 2.

Another example of some photos that didn’t make the final cut for my book on European Railway Travel.

You might think that catching a train with medieval castles in the background is pretty neat.

It is.

But I have many photos at this curve at Oberwesel on the busy Rhein left bank route. I’ve selected several potential candidates from this excellent German location and these two just didn’t seem book worthy.

Exposed using my FujiFilm XT1.

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German Outtakes-1

As mentioned last week, I’m in the final lap of assembling a book on European Railway travel.

This image is among my ‘outtakes’ from the section on Germany.

I have hundreds of photos along the Rhein. I like this one because it shows the twin tunnels on the right bank opposite Oberwesel, but the wires in the sky annoy me, as does the clutter in the river at right and shrub on the left.

There’s better photos to select from for my book.

A Swiss Cargo freight works forward along the Rhein in September 2015. Really? That was two years ago? Gosh, where does the time go? Exposed with a FujiFilm XT1.

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German Class 140 in Classic Livery near the Loreley Rock.

In early September, my friends and I witnessed the passage of this old German class 140 electric in classic green paint.

Every day in late morning or early afternoon it would work south along the Rhein’s Right Bank (east side) with a freight.

On this day we hiked out to the Loreley statue on a peninsula near the famous Loreley Rock at bend in the river. I made these photos with my FujiFilm X-T1. As the freight drew closer, I opted to pan, which helps set apart the green locomotive from the hillside beyond.

Near the Loreley.
Near the Loreley.
By panning, I've improved the visual separation between the locomotive and the background.
By panning, I’ve improved the visual separation between the locomotive and the background.

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Scenery Supreme with MittlerheinBahn

MittlerheinBahn operates modern Siemens-built electric multiple units on all-stops local trains on the picturesque Left Bank route between Köln and Mainz, Germany.

Trains operate on an hourly basis throughout the day, with more frequent services at peak times.

The service is affordable, comfortable and the scenery provides an unending tapestry of wonder.

These trains come at such regular intervals, it would be easy enough to let their passage go undocumented while waiting for more unusual movements, such as freights with colourful engines. But I always try to make the most of all trains.

Over the course of a week I exposed dozens of images of MittlerheinBahn’s trains, often using them as a catalyst for complex scenic compositions. Would these views work if there were no trains in them?

Köln Hbf. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Köln Hbf. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Take a spin! These trains offer a smooth ride at a reasonable price. Large windows provide a great view of the scenery. Lumix LX7 photo.
Take a spin! These trains offer a smooth ride at a reasonable price. Large windows provide a great view of the scenery. Lumix LX7 photo.
A view from a vineyard near Boppard. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A view from a vineyard near Boppard. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Two ways to see the Rhein; by train and by ship. A view south of Boppard. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Two ways to see the Rhein; by train and by ship. A view south of Boppard. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
At Oberwesel, where castle towers and walls make for a Medieval setting. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
At Oberwesel, where castle towers and walls make for a Medieval setting. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Climb a tower for a better view. (Really I was waiting for a freight, but we'll get to that in a later post.) FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Climb a tower for a better view. (Really I was waiting for a freight, but we’ll get to that in a later post.) FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Local trains pass on opposite sides of the Rhein, both were in motion. (as were the clouds!)
Local trains pass on opposite sides of the Rhein, both were in motion. (as were the clouds!)
A wink of sun north of Bingen. Would this be a more interesting image if the train was closer, but bathed in shadow?
A wink of sun north of Bingen. Would this be a more interesting image if the train were closer, but bathed in shadow?

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Real versus Surreal

I have no doubt that punchy delicious colours and heavily altered contrast can grab the attention of viewers. I saw Fantasia, I look at Facebook.

It’s not a matter of right or wrong, or right or left. With modern software, tweaking colour and contrast has never been easier.

Below are three versions of an image I exposed digitally in the Rhein Valley. Not necessarily in order: One image is RAW (straight out of the camera, only reduced in size for internet), the other two have been altered.

Of these latter two images, one is my interpretation of how the scene appeared at the time I exposed the photo, the other is pure fantasy.

DSCF1013-Photo_by_BrianSolomon4
I’m calling this version Image A.
DSCF1013_Photo_by_BrianSolomon3
This one is Image B.
DSCF1013Photo_by_BrianSolomon2
Image C.

I’ll let you sort out which is which. Of the three, which do you like the most?

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Freight with Castle, Rudesheim

There’re some locations that just jump out at you. This view of the Rhein’s Right Bank is one of them. The combination of the river with vineyards rising above punctuated by the ruins of a medieval castle make for a postcard view.

The railway is an added bonus. Red Die Bahn locomotives are a nice touch. It helps to have bright afternoon sun.

DB_Doubleheaded_Chemicals_train_w_Castle_near-Rudesheim_DSCF2152

DB_185_Freight_across_Rhein_w_Castle_near-Rudesheim_DSCF2165Exposed near Rudesheim, Germany using my FujiFilm X-T1

 

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Flirts along the Rhein

 

Flirt at Kaub, Germany. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera from platform level using the positionable rear display.
Flirt at Kaub, Germany. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera from platform level using the positionable rear display.

Right Bank passenger services are largely provided by Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbahn. Trains are operated by VIAS Gmbh as Stadt-Expresses use Stadler Flirt electric multiple units and make local stops between the Koblenz Hbf (on the Left Bank) and the Frankfurt area.

Every hour all day long (with half hourly intervals at peak times) these modern Flirts glide along the supremely scenic Rhein Valley, working between the seemingly continuous parade of freights on the same line.

The cars stand out nicely against lush back drops and make for interesting photographic subjects. The tricky part is selecting the correct exposure to avoid over-exposing the lightly coloured trains.

A northward Flirt approaches Filsen. This early morning service catches the glint of the rising sun. Mist is the air makes for added atmosphere, but complicates the exposure. Here I've opted to set the exposure manually to retain highlight-detail on the side of the train. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A northward Flirt approaches Filsen. This early morning service catches the glint of the rising sun. Mist in the air makes for added atmosphere, but complicates the exposure. Here I’ve opted to set the exposure manually to retain highlight-detail on the side of the train. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A grab shot of a Flirt exposed with my Lumix south of the famous Loreley Rocks.
A grab shot of a Flirt exposed with my Lumix south of the famous Loreley Rocks.
I was focused on the tug boat when this Flirt emerged from the tunnel at Oberwesel. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
I was focused on the tug boat when this Flirt emerged from the tunnel at Oberwesel. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Another angle from Oberwesel, this view from the top of an old stone tower that was part of the city walls. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Another angle from Oberwesel, this view from the top of an old stone tower that was part of the city walls. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
View from the Right Bank opposite Oberwesel. Lumix LX7 photo.
View from the Right Bank opposite Oberwesel. Lumix LX7 photo.
Flirt near Bingen. Exposed with my Lumix LX7.
Flirt near Bingen. Exposed with my Lumix LX7.
Glinty Flirt reflects in the Rhein near Kaub. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Glinty Flirt reflects in the Rhein near Kaub. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

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TRAXX Roll Freight at Kaub—September 11, 2015

The Right Bank of the Rhein is a busy freight corridor. Trains run in waves, and often follow each other several minutes apart on their north-south journey across Germany.

Kaub station sits wedged into a hillside with a castle above, and a sweeping curve to the south. In the afternoon, the sun swings around, which makes it a great place to photograph trains on the move.

Bombardier’s TRAXX locomotives family includes several classes of electrics. While the DB red class 185s may seen repetitive, open access operations make for a bit of variety. It seems that there’s always another freight working its way up or down the Rhein Valley. And this provides an opportunity to refine photographic angles and technique.

Doubleheaded DB class 185 electrics lead a southward freight at Kaub, 4:40 pm.
Doubleheaded DB class 185 electrics lead a southward freight at Kaub, 4:40 pm.
Northward intermodal train at Kaub, 4:41 pm.
Northward intermodal train at Kaub, 4:41 pm.
Southward freight with a DB class 185 electric at Kaub, 5:15 pm.
Southward freight with a DB class 185 electric at Kaub, 5:15 pm.
VIAS Flirt makes a station stop at Kaub, 5:19 pm.
VIAS Flirt makes a station stop at Kaub, 5:19 pm.
5:24pm.
Kaub, 5:24pm.
Kaube, 5:28 pm.
Kaub, 5:28 pm.
Southward empty auto train at Kaub, 5:40 pm.
Southward empty auto train at Kaub, 5:40 pm.
Swiss BLS intermodal train at Kaub, 5:58 pm.
Swiss BLS intermodal train at Kaub, 5:58 pm.

I made this selection using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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Extra Post—Freight from the St. Goar-St. Goarhausen Rhein Ferry.

The wonders of technology! I’m writing and posting this from a bus on the roll. The bus offers better WiFi than I have in my apartment.

Anyway, here’s a view I made from the Rhein ferry looking down river toward the famous Loreley Rock on Wednesday September 9, 2015.

Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1. One of the great features of this camera is the active level in the viewfinder. Such a tool aids making level images from a boat!

St Goar, Germany.
St Goar, Germany.

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Tracking the Light EXTRA: Taurus, Intermodal, and the River Rhein—September 10, 2015

Yesterday (September 10, 2015)  was an exceptionally clear and bright day in the Rhein Valley.

The conditions were ideal for photographing across the river, which opened up numerous photo locations.

Gerry Conmy, Dennis McCabe, Stephen Hirsch and I selected this view near St. Goarhausen. Behind us is the double track west bank (or ‘Left Bank’) line.

In addition to DB (Deutsche Bahn—Germany Railways), there a great variety of private and open access operators on the Rhein Valley lines.

I used my Lumix LX7 to capture a southward freight led by a Siemens Taurus electric against an impressive cliff-face as intermodal ships pass in the river. There’s always something interesting to watch alone the Rhein. This was just one of dozens of trains we photographed yesterday.

Southward freight near St. Goarhausen, Germany, September 10, 2015.
Southward freight near St. Goarhausen, Germany, September 10, 2015.
Southward freight near St. Goarhausen, Germany, September 10, 2015.
Southward freight near St. Goarhausen, Germany, September 10, 2015.

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Yellow Rabbit with a Stone Tower; Oberwesel—8 September 2015

Germany’s Rhein valley is one of my favorite places to photograph railways.

Here dual double track lines operate on either side of the river, and wind among stunning scenery, with castles and medieval architecture.

The variety of trains makes it even better. I never know what to expect next.

How about a a yellow rabbit in work train service?

(Germany’s class 215, 216, 217, and 218 diesels have become known as ‘rabbits’ because of their unusual exhaust stacks.)

Exposed with a Fujifilm X-T1 mirrorless camera. File modified in post processing to control contrast and adjust exposure.
Exposed with a Fujifilm X-T1 mirrorless camera. File modified in post processing to control contrast and adjust exposure. Note the Right Bank line on the far side of the Rhein.

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DB Class 120—Polyphase traction pioneer-Crossing the Rhein

The six track railway bridge over the Rhein at Koln offers a continuous parade of trains.

In just a few minutes I made many interesting photos.

In this image, on of DB’s Class 120 electrics whirrs over the massive bridge. This electric was among the earliest commercially-built locomotives using a modern three-phase traction system. It was among the more unusual trains I photographed on the evening of September 2, 2015.

Class_120_crossing-Rhein_DBP1300874

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Looking Back along the Rhein.

April 10, 2010.

Germany’s Rhein valley is one of my favorite places to make railway photographs. The combination of great scenery, a fantastic variety of locations, the historic architecture, and a continuous parade of freight and passenger trains on both sides of the river make it hard to beat.

And, at the end of the day (in the most literal use of the cliché), the beer is great!

A southward DB freight rumbles along the Rhein. Exposed near Braubach on April 10, 2010 using my Lumix LX3. This photograph require a nominal walk from road level up the footpath seen in the foreground. Somewhere down there is the hired car and some friends from Ireland.
A southward DB freight rumbles along the Rhein. Exposed near Braubach on April 10, 2010 using my Lumix LX3. This photograph require a nominal walk from road level up the footpath seen in the foreground. Somewhere down there is the hired car and some friends from Ireland.

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Freight Along the Rhein

Playing with Aspect Ratios.

April 9, 2010; a group of my Irish friends and I were on a week long trip to the Rhein and Mosel Valleys.

The Rhein is great place to experiment with equipment and technique. Busy double track mainlines occupy both sides of the river amid stunning scenery and historic architecture.

I was set up at the south end of the station platform at Kaub on the Right Bank. This is the busier freight line, with trains passing in fleets. Rarely ten minutes would pass without something clattering along.

My vantage point also gave me a good view of the Left Bank and the Pfalzgrafenstein—a colorful castle situated on an island in the middle of the river. Working with my Lumix LX3, I played with the camera’s aspect ratios as an exercise in composition.

A DB class 151 electric leads a southward container train at Kaub, Germany. I've used the Lumix LX3 with the 1:1 (square) aspect ratio to frame the train with the castle on the side of the hill and lighting masts on the left. April 9, 2010.
A DB class 151 electric leads a southward container train at Kaub, Germany. I’ve used the Lumix LX3 with the 1:1 (square) aspect ratio to frame the train with the castle on the side of the hill and lighting masts on the left. April 9, 2010.
I made this image of a northward car train from the same location as the above photo. By selecting the Lumix's 16:9 aspect ratio I had a panoramic frame with which to compose my photo. My intent was a juxtaposition of the castle in the river with the freight train. Would this photo work if the DB locomotive wasn't bright red?
I made this image of a northward car train from the same location as the above photo. By selecting the Lumix’s 16:9 aspect ratio I had a panoramic frame with which to compose my photo. My intent was a juxtaposition of the castle in the river with the freight train. Would this photo work if the DB locomotive wasn’t bright red? 

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View From a Castle

Along the Rhein at Festung Ehrenbreitstein, May 1996.

Exposed on Fujichrome Provia with a Nikormat FTN and Nikoor f1.8 105mm lens. Ehrenbreitstein-Koblenz station on May 24, 1996. Image modified slight to correct color balance and improve contrast.
Exposed on Fujichrome Provia with a Nikormat FTN and Nikoor f1.8 105mm lens. Ehrenbreitstein-Koblenz station on May 24, 1996.

I made this view from the massive fortress above the Rhein opposite Koblenz. My father and I had traveled by train from Köln.

The train pictured was a local train gliding in for a station stop.

The fortress is a popular attraction and offers magnificent views of the confluence of Rhein and Mosel Rivers, while also providing some nice elevated angles on the railway along the ‘right bank.’

Trains are plentiful on this line, and every few minutes freights would rumble along the river. To view the river and railway from the massive stone walls is an experience. We arrived by cable car, and departed by a Mercedes Taxi. What a cool place!

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Tomorrow: Freight in Marin County!

 

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Rhein River Valley Part 3

Views from the East Side of the Rhein—September 2013.

Rail Freight in Germany.
A DB freight rattles northward near Filsen on the east side of the Rhein in September 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

For me the Right Bank (east side) of the Rhein has always been more challenging and more intriguing. This side has more freight, but the vistas are more difficult to access. Certainly getting the viewpoints that I envision take a little more work.

On this trip, with the help of maps and some advice from local photographers, I found several satisfactory spots to work from.

Where the Left Bank (west side) remains dominated by passenger traffic (with the occasional freight slotted in), the Right Bank is primarily a freight route, with the requisite hourly (half-hourly at peak times) stopping passenger train.

Since my last visit to the Right Bank in 2010, the passenger service has been upgraded with modern Stadler three and four piece Flirt-model railcars. The tide of freight ebbs and flows, but its not difficult to get four or five freights at one location in a relatively short span of time.

It seems that no sooner than one train has clattered out of sight when the next is on its way. If action on the east side ebbs too much, there are plenty of boats and barges on the Rhein as well as trains on the left side. Regardless of what happens, I find it easy to expose lots of images.

Stadler Flirt
A Stadler Flirt railcar is ready to come out of the sidings at Kaub. These modern electric railcars provide interval passenger service between freights on the east side of the river. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Lorchausen, Germany
Picturesque villages line the east side of the Rhein. This view of Lorchausen was exposed shortly before sunset with my Lumix LX3.
Rhein River Valley
A southward freight is led by a common DB Class 185 electric. This view is made from a vineyard near Lorch that offers superb views of trains on both sides of the Rhein. Lumix LX3 photo.
Grapes.
Plump grapes ripen in the autumn sun near Lorch, Germany. Lumix LX3 macro view.
Coal train on the Rhein.
A blue electric leads a train of PKP coal wagons on the west side of the river (as viewed from a Vineyard in Lorch). Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
Looking south from a level crossing near Kaub, Germany. Lumix LX3 photo.
Looking south from a level crossing near Kaub, Germany. Lumix LX3 photo.
BLS freight on Rhein.
A BLS Cargo electric hums northbound at a lightly used level crossing near Kaub. Once a manned crossing with classic signal tower, gates are now automated. The BLS freights from Switzerland are among the most prized daily catches for some photographers. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

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Rhein River Valley Part 2

 

The Left Bank at Oberwesel—September 2013.

Oberwesel is south of Boppard and also on an elbow-bend in the river. It’s spectacularly set along the river and against steeply rising hills while featuring castles and a medieval city wall.

German passenger train.
A DB class 120 glides southward through Oberwesel in September 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.

The old city wall is set up as a tourist attraction and can be easily used as a platform for photography. Not only does this provide great views of the line on the Left Bank, but gives superb angles of the dual tunnels on the line serving the Right Bank.

I visited Oberwesel in April 2010, but the light was a bit dull, so I’ve been aching for another try at it on a clear day.

While there are some good angles in the morning, I found the best light angles were obtained after about 2 pm. September is a great time to photograph because the light is good throughout the day and it’s past the peak tourist season. Jostling elbows with the masses while trying to focus on a IC train might be challenging.

Locomotive with castle walls.
A diesel running as a light engine northbound made for an ideal opportunity to frame a train in the window of a medieval wall tower. Canon EOS 7D photo.

The parade of trains is unceasing. If one side of the river starts to lag, the other will seem to make up the difference. It was only during the lunch that traffic seemed to lull. Certainly the passenger trains kept coming, but the freights must of all paused for a snack.

Not far from the south edge of city wall in Oberwesel, we found a suitable restaurant with outdoor seating, a choice of beer, and a view of the tracks

A few hours at Oberwesel gave me more great images than I knew what to do with. I could make this a multi-installment post. Will you still be there for Oberwesel Left Bank Northward Views Part 12? Hmm?

Rhein River Valley at Oberwesel.
A DB Class 101 leads an InterCity passenger train southbound. This view is from the top of an old wall tower at Oberwesel, Germany. Canon EOS 7D.
Rhein River Valley at Oberwesel.
The Oberwesel city walls give good views of the line on the far side of the Rhein in the afternoon. A Swiss BLS locomotive is about to disappear into the tunnels opposite Oberwesel. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Rhein River Valley at Oberwesel.
An ERS Railways Class 189 hums along with a southward container train along the Rhein’s ‘right bank.’ Canon EOS 7D photo.
Rhein River Valley at Oberwesel.
Rich afternoon light graces a Taurus electric leading a northward InterCity train at Oberwesel. This view was made from the city wall. Canon EOS 7D photo. 
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Rhein River Valley Part 1

 

The Left Bank at Boppard and Vicinity—September 2013.

Germany’s Rhein offers one of the World’s great railway experiences. Here busy double track railways occupy both sides of the river, largely in sight of one another. This narrow picturesque valley is dotted with old villages, castles, churches and blanketed with vineyards which adds to its charm and make for more interesting photographs.

Germany ICE high speed train.
An ICE train glides northward along the Rhein as morning mists give way to sun. Canon EOS 7D photo.

For the all the challenges of wandering down lightly travel rural branch lines, or seeking out unusual, peculiar and elusive railway operations, sometimes it’s nice to get ‘a fix’ and go to a place where you will see a great volume and variety of trains in a comfortable setting.

The Rhein in early September hit the spot. The weather was perfect; a mix of sun and mist made for great lighting conditions, while temperatures were comfortable. No rain, no heavy wind. And best of all every few minutes a train comes rolling up or down the river.

Historically, the line on the west side of the river, the ‘Left Bank,’ was almost exclusively a passenger line and featured a continuous parade of Regional, IC, EC, and ICE trains, while the ‘Right Bank’ carried freight and an hourly local service.

Today, there are fewer IC/EC/ICE trains on the Rhein as many through services run on the high-speed line between Köln and Frankfurt. While IC/EC/ICE trains still operate about once an hour in each direction (plus local stopping services) now there are more paths for freights on the Left Bank which makes the line more interesting and more varied.

Boppard is located south of Koblenz on a elbow bend and allows for a variety of angles as the sun swings around. I’ve found from previous trips that Boppard is best in the morning. These photos are a selection from three days of photography based around Boppard.

I worked with three cameras; a Lumix LX3, Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS 3 with Provia 100F film. Only the digital results are displayed here.

Rhein river valley.
A container train hums northward behind an ERS Railways Class 189 electric. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

Rhein valley
A DB Class 101 electric leads southward IC train through vineyards near Boppard, Germany in September 2013. Exposed with a Lumix LX3. The Lumix is fitted with a Leica lens that allows for great depth of field.
Rhein valley
Light cloud softens the morning sun making for better contrast on this back lit southward freight near Boppard. Careful placement of wildflowers adds depth and interest to the image. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens.
Desiro railcar
This class 642 Desiro railcar made for an unexpected visitor in the Rhein Valley. These are not the normal railcars used on the line. Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens.
German signals.
Old style Germany signals at Boppard. DB has been replacing this style of hardware with less complex signals. Many of the older signals survive on the Right Bank line. Canon EOS 7D photo.
German passenger train with castle.
A DB class 120 electric shoves on the back of northward IC train departing Boppard station. Lumix LX3 photo.
German passenger train at Boppard.
The morning sun glints off the side of an IC train paused at Boppard for a station stop.I’ve used the platform awning to shield the direct light of the sun from the camera lens to avoid unwanted flare. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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