Mount Solitary

Looking back- Ben Pearse 2016

Looking back on Katoomba from Mt Solitary ridge

Situated in the world heritage listed Blue Mountains, Australia lies the majestic Mount Solitary. At 950 metres above sea level Mount Solitary demands attention amongst it’s nearest landscapes rivals such as the iconic three sisters located nearby. The local indigenous people called the mountain Korowal meaning “the strong one”. Mount Solitary is located in the jamison valley and is most easily accessed via the mountain township of Katoomba.

Over the years Mount Solitary has been a sought after destination for many experienced walkers, hikers, runners and overnight campers as they seek the majestic and breathtaking views the mountain offers up as you labour up it’s steep eucalyptus lined ridges. From it’s summit you are offered a stunning view from melville’s lookout near chinaman’s gap that takes in lake burragorang and the wild dog mountains.

In recent times the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) have installed pit toilets, shelter and rainwater tanks for the increased traffic flow to Ruined Castle ,which you pass along the way enroute to Mount Solitary. Though the rain tanks may supply water year round, yet it’s vital you carry a good supply of water as it may not be available in the dry periods atop Mount Solitary. Overnight campers can stay in chinaman’s gap or nearby areas with suitable tents and sleeping equipment.

Below is a series of pictures taken by Ben Pearse who is a commercial photographer living and working in Katoomba, Blue Mountains, Australia. These images document the popular walking route from the Golden Stairs to atop Mount Solitary. The distance from the beginning of the Golden stairs to the Chinaman’s Gap is approximately 7.7km. (please read additional notes below images on hiking severity)

I hope these images help others enjoy this beautiful section of the Blue Mountains, Australia.

cheers Ben

All images are copyright to Ben Pearse Photography 2016

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Golden stairs to Mount Solitary

three sisters view

three sisters view

Golden stairs decent- april 2016- 2048

Golden stair pathway

angophora trees

Angophora trees

Signs to Solitary- april 2016- 2048

Signposts to Mt Solitary at base of Golden Stairs

Entering the forest- april 2016- 2048

Entering the forest

Dappled light- 2048

Dappled forest light

Forest views- april 2016

Forest views

Forest greens- april 2016- 2048

Forest greens

Sunshine in greenery- april 2016

Sunshine and greens

Sun through the trees- april 2016- 2048

Sunshine through the trees

Trees amongst the ferns- april 2016- 2048

Trees amongst the ferns

cliff lined views- april 2016- 2048

Cliff lined views

Track between ferns- 2048

Track through the ferns

Forest in sunlight- april 2016- 2048

Forest in sunlight

Sea of ferns- 2048

Sea of ferns

Under a fern canopy- april 2016- 2048

Under a fern canopy

Lush forests- april 2016- 2048

Lush forests

Bush toilets- april 2016- 2048

Bush toilets

Turnoff to ruined castle- 2048

Turnoff to Ruined Castle

Warning signs to heed- april 2016

Warning signs to take note

Camping site- 2048

Campsites and rest spots

Water and shelter stop- 2048

Water and shelter

Rain tanks and shelter- april 2016- 2048

Rain tanks and shelter

Last pit toilet- april 2048

Last pit toilet stop

Rainwater tanks- april 2016- 2048

Rain tanks can provide water if it’s available

Raintank- april 2016- 2048

One of two rain tanks available

Beautiful angophora trees- 2048

Beautiful angophora trees

The uphill climb begins- april 2016- 2048

The uphill climb begins

Ruined castle views- april 2016- 2048

Ruined Castle views

Angophora forest- april 2016- 2048

Angophora forest

Sunlight over angophora- april 2016- 2048

Sunlight over Angophora tree

Angophora canopy- 2048

Angophora canopy

The track steepens- april 2016- 2048

The path gets steeper

First steep scrample

First steep scramble

Looking to Kings Tablands

Looking to Kings Tablelands

Katoomba cliffline views

Katoomba cliffline views

The chimney climb

The chimney climb

The second knoll climb looms above

The second knoll climb looms above

Looking back across the jamison valley to Katoomba

Looking back across the jamison valley to Katoomba

Looking back panoramic views

Looking back panoramic views

Narrowneck plateau views

Narrowneck plateau views

Summit views...still a way to go.

Summit views…still a way to go

Finding shady spot on the climb

Finding a shady spot on the climb

Summit glory

Summit glory

Chinamans gap- Mount Solitary

Chinaman’s gap- Mount Solitary

Chinaman's gap eucalyptus trees

Chinaman’s gap eucalyptus trees

Chinamans Cave- Mount Solitary

Chinaman’s Cave- Mount Solitary

 

Chinaman's gap in the mist

Chinaman’s gap in the mist

Morning light

Morning light

Melville's lookout- Mount Solitary

Melville’s lookout- Mount Solitary

Zooming in on Lake Burragorang

Zooming in on Lake Burragorang

View over Lake Burragorang

View over Lake Burragorang

Panoramic view from Melville's lookout

Panoramic view from Melville’s lookout

Rain over Lake Burragorang

Rain over Lake Burragorang

Tales around the campfire

Tales around the campfire…

Katoomba panoramic view

Katoomba panoramic view- Mount Solitary on the left. The hike starts from right, underneath narrowneck plateau, and continues left past and below ruined castle and finally up the steep visible ridgeline onto Mount Solitary.

 

Thanks for looking, cheers Ben

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Note: The hike to Mount Solitary is not suitable for inexperienced hikers and campers. The long steep ridge path through sections of sandstone boulders can prove exhaustive and dangerous for those whose fitness is not at a suitable level.

Note: The author takes no responsibility for any incorrect information in this blog post. All person/s who are undertaking a walk/hike or camping trip to Mount Solitary should research/contact NPWS and other local government agencies and/or official sites prior to leaving to ensure their own safety. Please stay safe and monitor bushfire warnings when hiking and camping and be sure to take out your rubbish with you so other can enjoy these areas too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A photographic year in review -2014

2014 in review

Wow, that went fast! So as I start gearing up for 2015 I thought i’d reflect on a few moments from 2014 that stood out for me, photographically speaking. One of my highlights was getting to work on a “feature series’ that was filmed here in the Blue Mountains. I was hired to photograph locations throughout the upper Blue Mountains area. Over the course of a month I shot well over 100+ locations. From traditional landscape scenes to shops, offices, buildings etc whatever fitted in with the script and could be possibly used as a filming location within the series. It was a great learning curve and taught me some valuable lessons which I’ll take into my professional photographic journey. A great benefit in 2015 is I will be able to keep and showcase in my portfolio all of the locations to future commercial clients who might be filming or shooting in the blue mountains! Over the course of the years I’ll add to this library as I photograph more and more locations.

Another highlight was shooting a variety of landscape scenes by nightfall,  the majority of these I won’t be showing via social media, but rather through an exhibited series. As more amatueur and hobbyist photographers enter the photographic market from the sidelines it’s important to retain a level of uniqueness in an ever growing marketplace. It’s been great to see so many people wandering the mountains armed with a dslr lately…

Another quick highlight was capturing the Royal visit here in my hometown of Katoomba in april. Though i’m not an avid royal watcher by any means it was still great to see the Blue Mountains get swept up with royal fever. You don’t get a better tourism advert for the area than a young royal visit and after a very poor tourism season prior due to bushfires it was welcomed by local businesses. I should also quickly mention shooting an album cover for the Royce Twins (from X factor) they were a nice bunch of young and talented young men…As usual I will only show a small proportion of the work I’ve covered and here I’ve lent towards my personal favourite moments….

So, enough prattling on for now, I’m very much looking forward to some great photographic endeavours in 2015 and I wish everyone a fantastic and safe 2015.

cheers ben

here is a small selection of photos from 2014

phantom falls

phantom falls

Seas of Fog

Seas of Fog

Are you looking at me Kate?

Are you looking at me Kate?

Charles lookalike

Charles lookalike

wedding tears

wedding tears

sisters in silhouette

three sisters in silhouette

roaring 20's

roaring 20’s

Jamison seas

Jamison seas

Delta

Delta

groom

happy groom

Rainbows and Rain

Rainbows and Rain

Rainbow sisters

Rainbow sisters

wedding fun

wedding fun

getting in too close

getting in too close

poles apart

poles apart

ellenborough falls

ellenborough falls

lost in thought

lost in thought

celebrity guests enjoying the fun

celebrity guests enjoying the fun

Rainy days

Rainy days

shadowlands

shadowlands

portraits

portraits

jamison shower over solitary

jamison shower over solitary

moonrise over falls

moonrise over falls

Katoomba falls

Katoomba falls

falling blue

falling blue

Cascades in B&W

Cascades in B&W

sylvia falls

sylvia falls

Martu mob projection

Martu mob projection on Carrington chimney

lou & michael

lou & michael

romancing the flame

romancing the flame

Rosana & Andrew- wedding Ad with border

Rosana and Andrew…so cold outside

martu mob exhibit

martu mob exhibit

Billy

Billy

blue mountains by night

blue mountains by night

sculptures by the sea

sculptures by the sea

moonrise through the mist

moonrise through the mist

into the night

into the night

Boxing day panoramic on sunset

jamison sunset panoramic

jamison sunset panoramic

prolonged sunset pano

prolonged sunset pano

hazy days

hazy days

rays panormaic

rays panoramic

storm brewing, massive panoramic stitch

storm brewing, massive panoramic stitch

november fires

november fires

New life

New life

Carrington gardens

Carrington gardens

album cover

album cover

mist walker

mist walker

sunset watchers

sunset watchers

Rob & Rebecca

Rob & Rebecca

happily married

happily married

laughing Kookaburra

laughing Kookaburra

end of the road

end of the road

Cockatoo abstract

Cockatoo abstract

silhouetted sisters on sunrise

silhouetted sisters on sunrise

boxing day panormaic

boxing day panoramic

megalong moods

megalong moods

fern monsters lair

fern monsters lair

megalong rays

megalong rays

moody blue

moody blue

self portrait

self portrait

happy halloween

happy halloween

birthday boy

birthday boy

looking out

looking out

urban octopus

urban octopus

life is still

life is still

urban filming

urban filming

Caves house- jenolan caves

Caves house- jenolan caves

dogface panoramic

dogface panoramic

bridal veil falls on sunrise

bridal veil falls on sunrise

Weeping rock vertical panoramic

Weeping rock vertical panoramic

winter magic 2014

winter magic 2014

winter magic fireworks

winter magic fireworks

mountains architecture

mountains architecture

Dressed in water panoramic

Dressed in water panoramic

evening glow

evening glow

Into the mist

Into the mist

waverley cemetery

waverley cemetery

iconic opera house

iconic opera house

moon landing

moon landing

outdoor clothing shoot

outdoor clothing shoot

minni ha ha falls

minni ha ha falls

north face event

north face event

august moons

august moons

vivid sydney

vivid sydney

vivid characters

vivid characters

last man stands

last man stands

out of shadows

out of shadows

three sisters by night

three sisters by night

old man magpie

old man magpie

yesfest

yesfest

Australia day

Australia day

under the falls

under the falls

first light

first light

north face 100

north face 100

media dash

media dash

sisters on sunset

sisters on sunset

Life be still

Life be still

three sisters on sunset

three sisters on sunset

autumn colours

autumn colours

autumn mists

autumn mists

urban super moon

urban super moon

pine needle gathering

pine needle gathering

trees abstract

trees abstract

autumn delight

autumn delight

sounds of autumn

sounds of autumn

simple things

simple things

Katoomba falls in heavy rain

Katoomba falls in heavy rain

side view of cascades

side view of cascades

full flow

full flow

still weeping

still weeping

natures garden

natures garden

winters drought

winters drought

evening glow

evening glow

a mood sets in

a mood sets in

amongst the dead

amongst the dead

Vic the model

Vic the model

amongst the daises

amongst the daises

Dogface

Dogface and fog

still waters

still waters

grose valley in B&W

grose valley in B&W

phantom view

phantom view

dark side of the moon

dark side of the moon

reptile display

reptile display

check!

check!

comic day

comic day

library fun

library fun

little wagana dancers

little wagana dancers

drumcorp

drumcorp

north face by night

north face by night

runner in north face

runner in north face

vivid crowds

vivid crowds

sea of weed

sea of weed

open for viewing

open for viewing

roaring 40's

roaring 20’s

cute...

cute…

lovely ladies

lovely ladies

roaring

roaring

groom and the lads

groom and the lads

rain on the horizon panoramic

rain on the horizon panoramic

katoomba cliffline panoramic

katoomba cliffline panoramic

urban decay

urban decay

katoomba falls panormaic

katoomba falls panoramic

ellenborough falls panoramic

ellenborough falls panoramic

three sisters by moonlight

three sisters by moonlight

patches of rain panoramic

patches of rain panoramic

laughing Kookabura

laughing Kookabura

And what better way to end than with another damn cat on the internet, lol

And what better way to end than with another bloody cat on the internet, lol

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed these images

Happy 2015

Ben

email ben-benpearsephotography@gmail.com

Black & White Photography

Rain & rainbows

Rain & rainbows

Sometimes I feel that colour doesn’t always do a photo justice. In order to truly see what is in some photos, you sometimes have to strip away the colour leaving just the black & white contrasting shades & tones. I was brought up early on a healthy diet of B&W photos. My uncle Garth was a navy trained photographer and he was always taking wonderful B&W photos of us kids as we hiked and camped all over the beautiful Blue Mountains, Australia. As youngsters we would see him go into the laundry of our grandmothers house (his darkroom) where he would disappear and somehow come back magically with these wonderful photos……how he did this, I certainly didn’t know back then.

As I came to understand and practice my own photography years later I believe my early exposure to black and white photography had been awakened. Some photographers who specialise in B&W photos say that they, “see in B&W”, when looking out in the world and I totally believe this. I know that a large aspect of being a photographer is your ability to see a finished photo as you are taking it. The ability to pre visualise a scene before taking a photo and to know how it will look after editing is what makes a better photographer. I have come to understand when I’m out taking photos what light & subject would suit B&W or colour. I find as my photographic journey progresses I find I’m drawn more & more to black & white or a duo toned shot. There is a beauty in stripping something back, a rawness to it. Much like how a cabinet maker might strip back an old piece of furniture, removing the old excessive layers of paint to reveal it’s true bare form & it’s naturally beautifully grain. This for me is wonder of B&W, the allure to find a scene without the hindrance of colour. A scene where dark and light truly unfolds across the frame. A scene where there is only black….or white.

Black & White

 

Echo point at night

Echo point at night

basking in light

basking in light

Leura Falls

Leura Falls

balancing act

balancing act

jamison valley drama

jamison valley drama

Katoomba falls in the mist

Katoomba falls in the mist

low fog in the grose valley

low fog in the grose valley

phantom falls

phantom falls

drama

drama

Grose valley panoramic

Grose valley panoramic

minni haha falls

minnehaha falls

Rainy days

Rainy days

Dad

Dad

wedding fun

wedding fun

melbourne streets

melbourne streets

mother & daughter

mother & daughter

Into the mist

Into the mist

pine needles pattern

pine needles pattern

urban fog

urban fog

echo point in the fog

echo point in the fog

Autumn mist

Autumn mist

blazing wattle tree

blazing wattle tree

iconic Bondi beach

iconic Bondi beach

what the fork...

what the fork…

urban night

urban night

Jamison rains

Jamison rains

out on the farm

out on the farm

drive me to the moon

drive me to the moon

north face 100

north face 100

Brooding streams

Brooding streams

Opera house Sydney

Opera house Sydney

skating

skating

mardi gras

mardi gras

approaching storm

approaching storm

reaching for light

reaching for light

Bee & nessie

Bee & nessie

last show

last show

seas of fog

seas of fog

waverley cemetery

waverley cemetery

Autumn night

Autumn night

shadowlands

shadowlands

katoomba falls pano

katoomba falls pano

Jamison seas pano

Jamison seas pano

Bee

amongst the daffodils

 

I can do this

I can do this

life is still

life is still

sisters in silhouette

sisters in silhouette

last light

last light

popular spot

popular spot

ellenborough falls

ellenborough falls

junction falls

junction falls

pumping along

pumping along

after the rains

after the rains

dark moods

dark moods

Victoria

Victoria

Carrington hotel cellars

Carrington hotel cellars

glow worm cave

glow worm cave

generations

generations

dance motion

dance motion

cockatoo portrait

cockatoo portrait

weeping rock

weeping rock

glowworm stream

glowworm stream

looking to megalong

looking to megalong

approaching change

approaching change

katoomba falls

katoomba falls

three sisters

three sisters

dogface panoramic

dogface panoramic

cultural centre

cultural centre katoomba

echo point viewing at night

echo point viewing at night

winter magic festival

winter magic festival

 

amongst the ferns

amongst the ferns

getting in close

getting in close

cascades in flood

cascades in flood

getting a haircut

getting a haircut

wedding party

wedding party

rolling in

rolling in

explosion

explosion

feline study

feline study

Atop ruined castle

Atop ruined castle

moody falls

moody falls

phantom commeth

phantom commeth

Katoomba falls

Katoomba falls

louie the fly

louie the fly

operatic mood

operatic mood

Katoomba courthouse

Katoomba courthouse

having an outdoor shower

having an outdoor shower

calm

calm

lost in thought

lost in thought

allot more to go… perhaps another time

Leura falls, Blue Mountains

Leura falls panoramic

Leura falls panoramic

Leura falls is one of those areas that pops up in a photo once in a blue moon. I had been to these beautiful falls many years ago without a camera & decided it was high time that I went back and took some photos. It’s one of those locations that does require quite the walk out of the valley, so this keeps most people away. Recently I decided it was definitely time to go out and get a heap more waterfall photos, so I packed up and spent three days immersed in the creeks and streams in the beautiful Blue Mountains, Australia.

During the afternoon I was standing knee deep in water and I looked up to see a group of young tourists just standing there staring at me, obviously thinking, “this guys bloody mad”. It moments like these that I feel truly happy and content with my life…..As the afternoon light descended onto the sandstone cliffs, I tried finding some interesting angles of the falls and surrounding area. I always love the challenge of presenting an area with different and unique angles that I can come up with on the day…..

cheers ben-

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more photos of leura falls

last light

last light

through the ferns

through the ferns

I couldn't resist a selfie on this boulder

I couldn’t resist a selfie on this boulder earlier on the day

in B&W

in B&W

shadow & light

shadow & light

Narrowneck plateau, Katoomba

Ben Pearse Photography

If I had to name one, if not my favourite, all time locations in the Blue Mountains it would have to be Narrowneck plateau in Katoomba, NSW, Australia. I was first introduced to the this area, along with my brother Simon, some 25 years ago when we first started rock climbing in the area. As young enthusiastic teenagers we use to spend all weekend, cutting our teeth, on the magnificent sandstone walls of this area. Climbing would envelop our life for the next 10+ years, without much room for much else…..

Narrowneck is a narrow ridge line that cuts it’s pathway between two majestic valley’s, the Megalong & Jamison. Approximately 12 kms in length, it commands attention within it’s landscape of the world heritage listed,  Blue Mountains. So here I am some 25 years later wandering the plateau again, perhaps not clinging to the side in desperation or for life, but still clinging, hanging, camera in hand…………..in search of light & mood. I’m not sure what attracts me to this location so much, perhaps it’s the balancing act, perched between to the two valleys, constantly tugging at me from each side, luring me in for another shot………………who knows, but I love it. I’ll continue to wander this landscape getting lost in thought & time searching for that elusive perfect light & mood for many moons to come, perhaps I’ll see you out there one day……

cheers ben

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   more narrowneck splendour

waterfalls of mist

waterfalls of mist

Golden light

Golden light

summers afternoon

summers afternoon

trees with colour

trees with colour

balancing act

balancing act

a popular abseiling location

a popular abseiling location

Fog rolling between valley's

Fog rolling between valley’s

dissecting the valley's

dissecting the valley’s

moody skies during bushfires

moody skies during bushfires

last light

last light

Me training a few years back

Me training a few years back

Me.....back in the day

Me…..back in the day

a view of cliffs nearby

a view of cliffs nearby

looking into the jamison valley

looking into the jamison valley

heavy smoke on the plateau

heavy smoke on the plateau

jamison valley glory

jamison valley glory

Ruined Castle

Ruined Castle

Ruined Castle

The ruined castle is a popular and distinct  sandstone rock outcrop in the Jamison valley within the World Heritage Blue Mountains, Katoomba, Australia. I have ventured out there for a walk on numerous occasions and also camped within the ruins many moons ago. A great sight of this wonderful sandstone structure is to witness the last sunrays falling across the castle in the jamison valley on sunset.  I have often stood at a lookout watching the last rays of the day lighting the sandstone walls of the castle walls. I’m guessing that it got it’s name, as it appeared, “castle like” to somebody walking through the area some time ago and in which they probably said something along the lines like, “Hey, don’t you think that looks like a castl, you know, like a ruined one”! I’m sure this is totally incorrect, but it will do for now and if you need to know, I’m sure  google has the answer somewhere…..

If you do find yourself in the area and you have a few hours in which you’d like to get your heartrate up a little and be rewarded with a beautiful 360 degree view at the end, then this just might be for you. A great way to get there is to descend the golden stairs off the Narrowneck plateau. If however you would just like to admire it from the distance like the many thousands of tourist each year, then Echo Point in Katoomba is a great vantage point for this spectacular Blue Mountains landmark. I hope you find time in your week to get outdoors to explore…..

See you out there

cheers ben                                                                                                                                                                                          more castle views

surrounded by mist

surrounded by mist

last light touches the walls

last light touches the walls

hazy light

hazy light

without colours

without colours

hidden in bushfire smoke

hidden in bushfire smoke

aglow

aglow

glimpsed through the trees

glimpsed through the trees

A storm approaches the castle

A storm approaches the castle

Guardian of the Castle

Guardian of the Castle

Conquering the Castle

Conquering the Castle

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Katoomba Falls

From bottom to top, Katoomba Falls

From bottom to top, Katoomba Falls

Katoomba Falls is located in the world heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park in Katoomba. With a height estimated at 230 metres this majestic waterfall takes a series of plunges as it descends into the Jamison valley. I have been here on numerous occasions to photograph this beautiful waterfall in many different moods and water levels. These falls have always been very popular with the many thousands of tourists that visit each year due to the ease at which you can visit the falls. There is a great natural viewing platform where you can take in the falls from mid height and snap as many photos as you like. Another great way to see katoomba falls is from the air via the scenic skyway. From this vantage point you can get a real sense of the height and scale of the falls within the landscape.

One of the great draw cards for these falls is the constant changing environment in which they are situated. I’ve been here in heavy mist, fog, low cloud, rain, intense heat…you name it I’ve tried to capture it. The ever changing moods of the Blue Mountains allow photographers to get a huge range of photos of a scene if you’re willing to put the effort in. I really enjoy visiting certain locations over and over as it gives me the opportunity to get a a real variety of photographs in which to document a scene. Hence why local photographers will generally always get the more engaging photographs of the local scenes……….it a time thing, time & patience. For me it’s also the challenge of finding a composition that is “new to market‘ so to speak. Getting something new from a popular location is something I really enjoy doing. I was given a great compliment the other day, I was told me I was giving the blue mountains “a new look” in this digital age, I was flattered to say the least. It’s always nice to hear that your work is appreciated and well received within the community.

I will always enjoy this pursuit of angles and light that we call photography, it has allowed me to really see the environment in a new light.I always feel very lucky to literally step out my front door and within minutes be immersed in a sea of eucalyptus trees and gorgeous views. I hope you enjoy some of the images that I bring back from my little adventures in the bush. I know you won’t like them all, but perhaps it time one image may really speak to you, and if that’s the case……..I’m a happy camper.

Enjoy the journey, cheers ben

more photos of water falling down

 click on photos for a larger view

 in the mist

in the mist

shafts of water

shafts of water

cascading down

cascading down

ummmm having an outdoor shower

ummmm having an outdoor shower

a study of colours

a study of colours

at the base of the falls

at the base of the falls

a boulders view

a boulders view

through the mist

through the mist

silky scenes

silky scenes

pouring over like milk

pouring over like milk

flyby

flyby

having fun in the falls

having fun in the falls

surrounded by eucalypts

surrounded by eucalypts

the big picture

the big picture

an aerial view

an aerial view

tucked away

tucked away

colourful display

colourful displays

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