Friday, December 28, 2018

Building and Organizing My Catalog

Through 35 years in the trucking industry, and especially through the last 20 years of it, I stayed so busy working that I never had time to think about what I would do in retirement. I felt lucky just to be able to take a few days off from work, and that did not happen very often. There were several years that I logged less than a dozen days of recreational downtime in a year. It never entered my mind that I would one day be forced off of the road due to health reasons and that I would one day tell myself that I have no desire to climb back into a truck. But, it happened.

I never figured that I would one day quit trucking. I just never had the idea to retire. But, health issues got in my way, and I found myself applying for a Social Security Disability pension. And now, well, I have been unemployed for the past 9 years, and I have relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada. This puts me in a place where there is always something going on, something that interests me. Retirement, for me, has not been days filled with watching television. I have worked hard to improve my health. I eat better than I have ever eaten in my life. I sleep better than I have ever slept in my life. My only health issues are those that linger from my original problems. I will have those problems the rest of my life. 

Instead of accepting retirement I have purchased some photography equipment and began working on a lifelong fantasy, a freelance photography business. I have made a few sales with my photography, but for now, I am concentrating on building and organizing my new catalog. I say “new catalog” because of a computer glitch that cost me 140,000+ images just over 4 years ago. Bad stuff happens, but I refuse to give up. And, I really believe I am making good headway. I just need to finish some projects and get organized enough to advertise and market my business, Better World Media.

I have also re-started a long-forgotten interest in music. I have now written around 100 songs, and sing and play the guitar. I hope to travel with the money I make with my photography and music. My income from Social Security and a disability pension is enough to meet my needs. Any income I can make from music and photography will be spent to meet my travel expenses, replace equipment as needed, and to help others that are less fortunate than myself.

I hope to soon begin advertising and marketing my work, but for now, it is important that I rebuild the catalog I lost over 4 years ago.
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The Future - an original tune by Keith Birmingham
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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Veterans Memorial Leisure Center, Summerlin, Nevada

Summerlin is a planned community of the Hughes Corporation and occupies much of the west-northwest part of the Las Vegas Valley. Near the downtown area of Summerlin is the Veterans Memorial Leisure (Community) Center which is actually on the grounds of the Summerling branch of the Las Vegas Community Center. On a plateau above this community center are four ballfields with impressive views of the Spring Mountain Range, including Red Rock Canyon and Mount Charleston.


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Veterans Memorial Leisure Center
101 N. Pavilion Center Drive
Summerlin, NV.  891

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Christmas Season in Las Vegas, NV. - 2018

My December photo project this year is to visit and photograph as many places and events as possible to capture their themes, trees, and Christmas spirit. I hope to make a slideshow with some of the photos.

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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Nevada State Veterans Memorial

I received my (early out) military discharge from the U.S. Navy in December of 1971 after serving 3 years, 10 months and 22 days of what I had thought were the worst days of my life. It took the rest of my life to realize that what I had learned in those years is what had kept me alive all these years. As I slowly walked around the The Nevada State Veterans Memorial I found it hard to click my camera shutter at times as each of the 18 statues seemed to call up memories of the men that I had served with and my hometown friends that had served and died in the same war that I had served through. The names and faces of men that I thought I hated being around in those days came flooding back into my mind, - and I missed them.


Since May of 2016 the Nevada State Veterans Memorial, Las Vegas has honored the heroism and spirit of those who have served in the military of the United States of America.  The memorial is located on the grounds of the Grant Sawyer State Building at 555 East Washington Ave., just north of downtown Las Vegas, Nevada.



The Nevada State Veterans Memorial recognizes the service and sacrifice of Americans, especially Nevada veterans and their families who have or will answer the call of duty.  The two-acre memorial and park featuring 18 statues of soldiers, from the Revolutionary War to the Global War on Terror and civilians sits on the grounds of the Grant Sawyer State Building, a government office building located at 555 E. Washington Ave., Las Vegas, NV. 89101. The sculptor of the statues is Douwe Blumberg. His website is (http://www.douwestudios.com/news/here. The organizations responsible for Installation: American Shooters, Inc. and the Las Vegas Veterans Memorial Foundation..  The memorial serves to honor the heroism and spirit of those who have, and will, answer the call of duty.


Nevada State Veterans Memorial - on Facebook.
This memorial made me think of all the men and women I have known that served to keep America strong and free, and all of their sacrifices. It made me realize that simply serving in the military is a mark of bravery.



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My name is Keith Birmingham. I click as a photographer, journalist and writer. I busk as a musician, singer, and songwriter. I travel as a photojournalist and musician. My home base is Las Vegas, Nevada. I own Better World Media, a company dedicated to my life passions of music, photography, and travel. I invite you to subscribe to my blog at Better World Media


What Have We Become

You are never too old to learn what you should have known all your life. My most recent educational experience came when I made what was supposed to be a simple trip to photograph the Nevada State Veterans Memorial near downtown Las Vegas, Nevada.


I got my first good look at the homeless problem of Las Vegas as I exited the I-15 Freeway at “D Street”. That is where I found the first block of homeless camps, and I soon realized this was just the beginning. I desperately wanted to park my car, grab my camera, and start shooting. Out of respect for the people huddled in the morning cold around their sidewalk-homes I just kept driving slowly through the camp And, that was just the beginning. Because the visiting hours for the memorial are 08:00AM to 08:00PM I had time to cruise around the neighborhood. What I found was that every block in a neighborhood of at least a square mile had homeless camps that line most, if not all, of the length of the block. And, I knew that many of these people living on the streets are veterans of America’s military. I am at a loss for words to describe how I was feeling as I pulled into the Grant Sawyer State Office Building parking lot. But it was after I parked my car, grabbed my gear, and walked the 100 yards to the outside memorial that the emotions I was already feeling grabbed my heart in a chock hold that took me to my knees.

I received my (early out) military discharge from the U.S. Navy in December of 1971 after serving 3 years, 10 months and 22 days of what I had thought were the worst days of my life. It took the rest of my life to realize that what I had learned in those years is what had kept me alive all these years. As I  slowly walked around the Nevada State Veterans Memorial I found it hard to click my camera shutter at times as each of the 18 statues seemed to call up memories of the men that I had served with and my hometown friends that had served and died in the same war that I had served through. The names and faces of men that I thought I hated being around in those days came flooding back into my mind, - and I missed them.


Two hours later I exited the memorial to drive home. Most of what I have been thinking since that day is the homeless population of Las Vegas and the veterans that I served with. And, now I just keep trying to figure a way that I can do more with what I have learned than post a blog and photos about my experience.


And, I just keep wondering, “What have we become? How can we, as Americans, let our people live the way these people are living?” We owe it to our homeless vets and all the homeless Americans to end their pain and plight.


When you are homeless you sleep where you can.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Weekend in Laughlin, NV.

Sponsored Tweets: fa58107157f40af56b129e5ac5d3fcc1ccb3649d4bd4a22514

When we left Las Vegas the weather was marvelous. It was around 10:30 AM on Saturday morning and morning traffic had long since died down. We stopped for our second cup of coffee before we left town, and an hour-and-a-half later we were in Laughlin. The first thing we noticed was that the wind was a little stiff down by the Colorado River. Other than that, it was a good day.


We checked into our room at the Tropicana Casino/Hotel, got settled in and  headed for a walk-around. The Tropicana sits between an In-and-Out Burger joint with a Terrible Herbst Convenience Store next to it. North of that there is an RV park. To the south of the Tropicana Casino/Hotel, there is a single building with about a dozen small businesses in it. Frank and I made our way across the street, turned back and took a few photographs of the Tropicana before continuing through the Colorado Belle Casino/Hotel, and down to the River Walk.


It was almost 01:00 PM. The casinos were busy inside, but traffic was light on the River Walk. Although there were only a few boats on the river the tour boats were packed and busy. Our goal for this walk was just to take the scenery in and get some photographs. I was happy for the lack of people that were out and about.

Three hours later we had walked north past the Edgewater Casino/Resort, Aquarius Casino Resort, and up to the Riverside Casino/Hotel just taking photographs of both sides of the river enjoying the scenery. But, by then it was beer-thirty, so we headed back to the Tropicana. It was 04:30 PM by the time we sat down to a beer in Tango’s Lounge.


After a 35-year sedentary career as a trucker my legs were already worn out, and I had work to do back in our room. Frank stayed behind at the bar for a couple of hours, but we were both in bed by 10:00 o’clock. Such is the life of old men. However, we were up with the sun on Saturday morning. By mid-morning, we were out cruising the big city of Laughlin. My main reason (excuse) for making this trip was to check out what kind of housing there was for senior citizens. We visited a couple of complexes in Laughlin before crossing the river and doing the same thing in Bullhead City. As it turns out there are a couple of nice places in both towns, but they were multi-storied apartment units, and I need to be on the ground floor. I will not rule out moving to the area, but Boulder City still may be my better choice. My worry about Boulder City is that it is too close to the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas. I belong in a small town.

So, we finished our tour of the east side of the river with a ride up to Davis Dam where we walked around and took more photographs before heading back across the river and down to Harrah’s Casino/Resort on the south end of Casino Drive in Laughlin.

Harrah’s, to me, is the crown jewel of today’s Laughlin. Ultra-luxury is the only way to describe the whole property, from the beach-front on the Colorado River through the casino area to the bars, lounges, eateries, entertainment venues, and rooms. The next time I visit Laughlin I hope to stay at Harrah’s.


Harrah’s also turned out to be my money hole. This whole trip came to me by accident. The third person that lives in our house is Roberto, and he is currently having some health issues. So, he decided not to go on the trip. I was never planning to make the trip, but Frank asked me to go with him, saying he would pay all of my expenses. He just didn’t want to go alone. Anyway, I very seldom win on the slots, and don’t gamble at the tables (I stopped gambling on my second WesPac cruise back in ’71) I can play no more than 10 minutes on the slots and get bored, or if they are noisy they drive me crazy. Anyway, I gave Frank a $1 to play one spin for me because he gets lucky on the machines sometimes. One spin on a $1 slot and he won me $160. I gave him half of the pot to pay for my share of the trip. It made me feel better about taking the trip, and I think Frank appreciated the gesture too.

Our final stop was the Golden Nugget. There had been a car show there earlier in the day. A few of the contestants were still parked in the front row of the parking lot. It was now Sunday evening, and the tourists were heading home. It had been a busy day for us. We grabbed a meal at Golden and I headed for our motel room while Frank stopped at Tango’s Lounge to watch some football. We were back home in Las Vegas by 09:30 Monday morning.

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Friday, November 2, 2018

Seeking Sponsors

Are sponsorships for events only? I hope not. I have an idea that I am working on to get sponsors for my work in #music, #photography, and #travel. I'm hoping this will give the backing I need to travel across northern American hemisphere, or at least across the USA.



Busking Pitch
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Contacting major manufacturers of camera and music equipment in exchange for reviews of their products and the use of my photos on projects they ask me to work on will be one way in which I will seek sponsorship. I also plan to contact leading travel-related businesses. I will be asking them for funds to support my needs in return for promotional services of their companies. And, I will be writing travel and how-to articles that I hope they can use. I am also trying to build a freelance relationship with news agencies for a specific photography purpose of my travels.

With or without sponsorship I do plan to begin my travels in the not-to-distant future. Starting my "off computer" search for a van for my travels will start today.

Friday, October 26, 2018

A Visit to Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve

Although I arrived 2 hours later than I should have I consider my first trip to the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve to be a success, and I will return often. What surprised me the most about the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve in Henderson, Nevada was the location. On the east side of the Las Vegas Valley this preserve is located smack in the middle of a very industrialized area, within a mile of a major water park (Cowabunga Bay Water Park) attraction, near the UNLV (Sam Boyd) football stadium, a stones throw from Clark County Wetlands Park, and not far from Boulder Highway.

Some simple directions: From I-515 you will travel east on E. Galleria Drive to Moser Drive, turn left and follow this road to the preserve entrance. On your first visit to HBVP you will need to visit the office and sign in. The office is located at 350 E. Galleria Dr. (at Moser Drive) at the edge of the parking lot as you arrive at the preserve. There is a gift shop in this building where you can get memorabilia and information.are circled by walking paths, both paved and non-paved. Park benches and observation blinds are located throughout the park, as are information posts.

The Office
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From there you are directed through a door into the preserve. Each of 9 ponds are circled by walking paths, both paved and non-paved and easy walking. Or, there are mobile tours available. Park benches and observation blinds are located throughout the park, as are information posts.


There are 9 ponds of varying sizes on the preserve. These are evaporating ponds at the city’s Wastewater Reclamation Facility. The treated water from the ponds is used to irrigate golf courses and other city facilities and eventually ends up in the Las Vegas Wash and Lake Mead.


Sunrise Mountain: a prominent landmark from all over the park, and all over Las Vegas Valley

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Better World Media is where you will find my photo gallery for the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.

Currently, there is a lot of road construction in the area. So, drive slowly and watch for a 2.5 x 2.5 white sign with black letters that will direct you to the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.

Interesting links:
Clark County Wetlands Park:
Cowabunga Bay Water Park:
History of HBVP:



Thursday, October 25, 2018

North to Alaska

It seems logical to me that when I start my van life and when the first Spring arrives wherever I am I should point my van north to the one state where I have never been. My route will start at the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, CA. From there I will follow the Pacific Coast Highway North, making a side trip to the USS HORNET museum in Alameda, CA., and back to PCH. Then, I will visit the Oregon and Washington coasts before heading North to ALASKA.



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Friday, September 28, 2018

Why I Photograph Parks and Trails

My first photo outing in 27 days was done yesterday. I simply used my cell phone to photograph Fox Ridge Park, in Henderson, Nevada. After shooting Fox Ridge Park I headed over to shoot a part of Sunset Park in Las Vegas that I had not shot in before. And, I will be returning to Sunset Park to shoot yet another part of the park that has escaped my camera so far. Anyway, I have just finished editing and posting my photos from yesterdays outing.


These are the reasons I photograph these parks:
1.) I get some good exercise with all of the walking that this takes.
2.) I learn more about the communities in the Las Vegas Valley.
3.) I will soon begin to advertise my work to the real estate industry in the Las Vegas Valley for their use in selling the neighborhoods they work to sell.



Most likely I will return to these sites to use my Nikon's and get some better photos. This trip was primarily for the exercise.
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Sunday, August 26, 2018

My Short Trip to Oklahoma

Photography kept 3 of the last 4 weeks from being a total waste of time. At the end of July I made a move to better my life that turned out to be a mistake. I drove back to Oklahoma to take an apartment in a senior community where I once lived. This move was to give me the solitude I desperately need to do my work, and enable me to afford to buy a van to boon-dock while doing my photography and playing my music. It did not happen. I could not reach an agreement with the property management. My plans were to stay there for one year and hit the road in my van. They wanted me to stay there until death did us part. I came back to my beloved Las Vegas Valley.


Acme Brick Park, Clinton, OK.


Bessie, OK.


Lions Club Park, Cordell, OK.
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What little time I was given there to do photography was spent in downtown Clinton and Acme Brick Park, and another outing that includes Bessie, and Cordell, Oklahoma. The rest of my time was spent  with my sisters who now live in Clinton. When the deal fell through on the apartment I immediately repacked my belongings and headed for Las Vegas that night.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Nomadic Lifestyle - Is It Worth It?

Last night I went to bed thinking I would spend today looking for a van or rv. I woke up this morning thinking I should consider more alternatives. Like, how about a good everyday vehicle with a hitch on it. That may turn out to be a van, but most rv's are too bulky to go where I want to go. And, since I don't know whether I want to live in a vehicle of any kind on a fulltime basis or not it does not make sense to put myself into a situation where I have no choice.

And, then there is the government. I started wanting to live the off-the-grid life 20+ years ago. I actually started planning for the rv life back in 2008, but that went out the window in 2009 when I had to retire for health reasons without a penny saved.

Over the past eight year's I have read a lot about the nomadic lifestyle. Everybody involved in a nomadic lifestyle will post about the feelings of freedom that they have on one post and the hassles they endure in their next post. Well, a lot of those hassles come from dealing with government regulations. And, you can count on one thing, - there will be more and more and more regulations as the community of nomads grows. Government is greedy by nature. And then, there are the inevitable breakdowns of equipment. By reading the posts on Facebook "groups" it seems like at least 50% of the posts deal with questions about how to fix this or that. And, I want nothing to do with over-crowded Wal-Mart parking lots and campgrounds.

Lastly, I'm 69 years old. I want comfort even when I travel. I slept in a box for 35 years as an otr trucker. Been there. Done that. So, I'm asking myself, "Is it worth it?" It seems to me that getting away from it all should mean a weekend or a long excursion with comfort built in. That may mean a Holiday Inn on a trip of several days, or a mattress in the back of a van for an overnight campout. To me, the most important things to have when you travel are good food, good rest, and a bathroom/shower. Time and experience will tell.
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Friday, June 29, 2018

Better World Media: Wanderlust: The Best Ever Photoshop and Lightroom ...



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Click the link below, or copy and paste, to enlarge the photo.

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The Best Ever Photoshop and Lightroom Cheat Sheets – PictureCo...
https://makeawebsitehub.com/adobe-photoshop-keyboard-shortcuts/

Friday, May 25, 2018

Where We Are At BWM

There is a learning curve. And, it is not much, but it is a start. At least I have now finally started contributing to stock image agencies. This is a very slow process, but I think it will pay off in the end.

To see my work on the following stock agency websites click the following links: Adobe Stock or Alamy. And, don't forget to visit our website @ Better World Media.

There will be new sites in the near future, but please remember that this is a very slow process mostly due to data entry and the waiting game.


This has been my business logo for several years now, but time has a way of changing things. In the future the basic design will remain the same. However, the text will be changed, and symbols will be added to signify the services and products Better World Media provides.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Why Take Time Off

Sixteen+hour days are not always the best way to be productive. Working smarter not harder is more often the better way. I have spent the better part of a year trying to rebuild a photo catalog. While I now have a decent amount of good photos I now find that my market for the kind of photos that I have been specializing in is not as large as I hoped it would be. It is there. It is just not as large. So, what do I do now?


Well, I'm not going to let the work of the past year go to waste. I will keep shooting what I have been shooting. It pays in more ways than one. I get good exercise every time I go places to shoot. The reactions from the people I am trying to reach with my photographs have been been positive. But, I do need to push them more, and in better ways. And, there are business aspects (paperwork) of photography that need to be completed. After all, the government wants it's cut. We, the government and I, have a business partnership. I do the work, they enjoy the benefits of whatever success I have.


And, it is time for me to expand my horizon, find new subjects, and learn new methods of doing what I do. A year ago I was looking at re-building the photography business that I once had. Today I realize that I am building an entirely new photography business from scratch. It is a challenge, but I love the challenge.


A week ago I was frustrated. In my mind I had failed. I was on the verge of quitting. But, as the days have past I have opened my eyes to the successes that I have had and the fun that I have had doing what I do. Taking time off has been invaluable to me as a tool to reflect on what I am doing and where I am going with my work. Taking time off is an invaluable tool.  

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Parks, Trails and Other Projects

It has been a four-year trip filled with mixed emotions. In 2014 I lost my complete photo catalog of over 140k files due to a computer glitch. That amounted to up to 13 years of hard work. The funny thing was it really caused me no depression and not a lot of anger. I just simply accepted it for what my life was, constant disappointment. There was nothing I could do about it.

Three years later I was back to shooting, but just as a hobby. Afterall, where I lived there was not much that I was interested in photographing. But, by the end of the third year I was looking forward to moving back to Las Vegas and finding work in the travel industry.

But, almost immediately after I arrived in Las Vegas in May of last year I began going on photo walks in the local parks. Eleven months later I have photographed in the neighborhood of 50 local and regional parks and made my first trip to Death Valley. And, the computer workload involved in what I am now doing could keep at least four people busy on a daily basis for weeks, maybe months. 




My interests in the travel industry remain high. I am learning all I can about writing travel articles and doing all of the travel related photography I can. I will soon start trying to attract people in the local real estate industry to view the parks and trails catalog that is and will remain my primary photo project for the time being. However, I do have other photography projects in the works. At this time I do not shoot portraiture. Maybe someday I will set myself up in a studio, but my passion currently calls for lots of walking and exploring. It is this exercise that keeps the blood pumping, my heart ticking, and my creative juices flowing.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

One Thing Leads to Another

Well, I have to admit that I thought the same thing. When I arrived in Las Vegas back in May of 2017 I thought I'd go out to a city park to get some exercise. All I took with me was a bottle of water and my cell phone. The first park I went to was, of course, Silverado Ranch Park because I already knew where it was.

In the northeast corner of this park is a skateboard park. There were about a dozen kids there making full use of the facility. I began my walk there, but not before snapping a few photos and a video with my phone. I walked at a slow pace and snapped photos of the 3 baseball fields, basketball courts, and exercise/fitness court. On the west side of this park is an empty field for most of the 3/4's mile to Las Vegas Blvd. On the other side of LVB is South Point Casino/Casino. The summer sun set that huge building aglow, and I stopped to photograph it before continuing on. Next, I passed by a grassy field that is mostly empty except in the southwest corner of the field. There are picnic areas here, and people were gathered in small groups around three of the sheltered tables. In the southeast corner of the park there are 3 dog parks for large, medium and small dogs. And, along the fence that enclosed one of the baseball fields there are more park benches, and a couple of picnic tables. In the middle of the park there is a huge playground for the kids, restrooms, and an equipment shed. My camera was pretty busy that morning. I actually walked around the park twice, and walked though the middle of it before heading home.

I am from a small town in Oklahoma, and back where I came from we never had parks with these kinds of facilities. As an adult I was on the road and never had the opportunity to explore the cities and towns that I traveled through. My job was to find a warehouse, get there, get loaded or unloaded, and head for my next drop or pickup. So, I was surprised by the pleasantness of being in a city park.

A couple of days later I found myself at Pucinni Park, and I think that is where the bug really bit me. This park had all of the same kinds of facilities plus a tennis court. And, I found myself exploring paths that led out of the park, up the hill, across Seven Hills Drive, and splitting off into more trails. And, I was hooked. The next day I came back with to the same park with my Nikon.

One thing leads to another. Somehow I need to find more time to spend photographing more subjects in the Las Vegas Valley. The Strip, Fremont Street Experience, off-strip casinos, car shows, conventions, baseball, football, soccer,  concerts, and simply dozens of community events are on my "want list". To date I have photographed around 50 parks and trails in the Las Vegas Valley. And, I have barely made a dent in number of parks here. At the rate I am going it will take at least 3 more years to get to just the city parks in the Las Vegas Valley. And, then there are the county, state and national parks that are within a couple of hours drive from here. In other words, I have quiet a job ahead of me.

https://www.bwmedia702.com/



Whitney Mesa Recreation Area, Las Vegas, NV.
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