Plate To Pixel

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As a child, I was an avid fiction reader. I loved anything from Chronicles of Narnia to The Babysitters Club to Anne of Green Gables to Amelia Bedelia. …and…wait for it…Choose your own adventure!!!

I think I actually believed they were non-fiction though!

Wrapped in a blanket hiding away in one of my homemade forts, I would read my favourite series over and over until the pages were falling out and the glossy coating wrinkled away from the fading cover. I loved nothing more than getting lost in a fantasy world.

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Nowadays, my passion has evolved from reading story books to informational books. I still occasionally enjoy reading a good fiction book (mostly if I’m on vacation though), but I love to read non-fiction books to learn more about my passions. My love for non-fiction books started when I fell in love with health and nutrition. I bought books like Dr. Oz’s YOU series, Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Cancer, Howard’s The Owners Manual for the Brain, and later, Pollan’s In Defense of Food. When cooking and baking became a passion in my life, my cookbook collection grew, and grew, and grew and I found myself inspired to follow a similar path.

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And then there’s the photography.

Growing up, my family would always teasingly call me, ‘the little tourist’ because I took pictures of everything…every moment…everyone…nothing could escape my wrath! Mom in her robe first thing in the morning? Photo worthy. My sister Kristi taking one of my beloved belongings? Also photo worthy.

My love for photography started with a Polaroid camera and progressed to using my dad’s film camera and eventually receiving my own point & shoot digital camera from Eric as a birthday gift. I think Eric’s words were, “I think you need to switch to digital so we can stop wasting so much money on film.” He did have a point, but little did he know that I would soon require more computer storage to fit all my digital raw photos and a new lens to go with it. ;)

There was just something about capturing the beauty of real life in a photo that excited me to no end.

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Even though I always loved photography, I never expected that it would blossom into something that I do everyday as part of my career. Now, rarely a day goes by that I am not practicing.

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When I started the blog in 2008, I used my old, beaten up Point & Shoot camera (we now call it the “point & shit” because it doesn’t always turn ON). Eric bought a Canon DSLR in 2007 and I was so intimidated by it, I didn’t start using it for my blog photos for over 1.5 years. Over time, he was able to show me the difference a professional camera (and the right knowledge) could make in a photo.

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After several months of shooting in “auto” mode with the DSLR, I decided that it was time to shoot in RAW format to give myself the freedom to post-process photos without compromising the quality. When Ashley was visiting, she showed me how she uses Adobe Lightroom to edit photos (something I had been using blindly for a couple months prior) and with practice, I fell in love with it a bit more each day. Now, I couldn’t imagine shooting in auto mode because shooting in raw is just so much more fun. Post-processing is also super quick once you get the hang of it. It typically takes me less than 30 seconds per photo.

I typically have a few books on the go at the same time (including several cookbooks), because as always, I can’t just pick one thing to focus on! I like to spend about a half hour at night reading, so I don’t get through books very quickly. ;)

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Right now, you can find me reading through a ton of vegan cookbooks as well as my recently purchased Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin, otherwise known as Tartelette!

I fell in love with Plate to Pixel from the moment I opened the book. Not only does Helene’s passion for food photography jump off the page, but it’s brimming with full colour, stunning photography throughout the book. I’m only a quarter of the way through and I’ve already learned so much and brushed up on some skills that were a bit foggy. I highly recommend it to those of you who are interested in pursuing food photography at a deeper level.

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What are you reading right now? What were your favourite books to read as a kid?

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{ 125 comments… read them below or add one }

Mallory November 3, 2011

Great post! Even though I am already a vegan, right now I’m reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Its a wonderful book.

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Natalie November 3, 2011

Right now I’m reading Crazy Sexy Diet (which I heard about from here) and a fluffy novel for my lunch breaks.

As a kid, I loved to read also! Babysitters Club, Saddle Club, Thoroughbred, Sweet Valley, Goosebumps, anything and everything! I loved coming home from the library with a stack of unread books :)

(love this post of yours!)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011

ahhh sweet valley, how did I forget that one!

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Aimee November 3, 2011

If you were a sweet valley fan, you need to check this one out! I read it front to back on a air trip from Toronto to LA this spring… I felt 12 again that is for sure!
http://www.sweetvalleytenyearslater.com

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Beth November 3, 2011

I’ve read and loved Plate to Pixel. Helene makes all her topics so accessible, and as someone who loves food AND photography, I love how most of her examples are food based. Since that’s what I’m shooting every day, it’s great to have such super relevant examples. I also took a basic photography class this year that I got a Groupon for that was so helpful. Sometimes having a teacher explain things like aperture and shutter speed and having you demo with your camera is more helpful than any camera manual you could read!

I also love reading non-fiction, and tend to fall hard and fast for any book on a topic I’m interested in. I have more than a full shelf of books on our food systems and health, including the Omnivore’s Dilemma, the China Study, Diet for a Small Planet, and many others. I have a whole other shelf devoted just to running books and biographies of some of the great runners of our sport. Kathrine Switzer’s autobiography is probably my favorite. It’s amazing to me to read just how much women’s running, and women’s access to running has changed in the last 30 years. I’m so glad to have been born when I was!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011

That’s so great to hear! I definitely want to take some classes some day.

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Lindsey November 3, 2011

This book is sitting in my Amazon basket right now! I just need to find another book for the free shipping :)
Right now I am reading on of Sarah Desshen’s books, I usually stick to easy reads, even some teen books!
As a kid I loved Anne of Green Gables, and Babysitters Club!

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Sara November 3, 2011

Books on food photography are so interesting but really overwhelming because it seems so complicated. I also have a horrible camera.
I read every Sweet Valley book as well growing up. I cycled through them from the local used bookstore. I’m currently reading All Different Kinds Of Free by Jessica McCann about slave laws in the 1800′s.

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Anna @ The Guiltless Life November 3, 2011

Thanks for this post – I was JUST talking to another food blogger/photographer yesterday about my issues now that the nights are getting dark earlier and how, working full time, I can never get decent shots of my dinner recipes because I have to use artificial lighting and it’s just AWFUL. She recommended a few lighting kits and Lightroom as well.

It’s such a frustrating issue but when you get better it’s so rewarding! But if you have any lighting tips when you have to deal with artificial lighting, I’d love to hear them too!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011

Hi Anna,
I would recommend a light box, but I must say I don’t bother with the one I made very often. It’s just too big to pull out. I’ve heard other bloggers using freestanding photography lights that you can purchase at photography stores. I think Kath from Kath Eats just blogged about hers the other day and said it made a big difference for her evening shots.

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Giulia @ Tutupa's Lab November 3, 2011

I’m half way through plate to pixel! I’m loving the book, it has taught me so much! But oh boy do I still need loads of practice!

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betsy November 3, 2011

I have this on my amazon wish list!

Right now I am reading Shucked, about life on a (local to me) oyster farm.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 3, 2011

OMG I’ve heard about this book and I want to get my hands on it SO badly!!! Photography is something I never thought I’d take interest in, but it really is an art and I am looking forward to learning more about it. As for what I’m reading – Joy Bauer’s Food Cures. So far, it’s great! I’ve got a review coming up soon. :)

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Andrea November 3, 2011

We totally could have been in a book club together – all the books you mentioned were my favs too. Sweet Valley High was my VERY VERY favorite book series though!

My daughter has become quite the reader and it makes me soooooo happy! I can’t imagine life without books.

Someone just yesterday gave me Pollan’s Food Rules. So my love for his books will begin shortly ;)

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Aine @ Something to Chew Over November 3, 2011

I loved Anne of Green Gables so much! And all the classics like Little Women and the Secret Garden. Anything horsey too – I loved the Saddle Club series :)

I’m reading Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks at the moment – really enjoying it so far.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011

Secret Garden….yes!

What is Saddle Club I keep hearing about? I think I missed a good one!

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Natalie November 3, 2011

So great! I still go back now and re-read them! A series about 3 young girls who love horses. There were over 100! And then they had an teen series with the same characters called Pine Hollow. Also really good and you don’t need the background to be able to keep up. There were 17 of those books.

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Destini November 3, 2011

I actually ordered this from indigo on Monday! Can’t wait to get it :D

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Alix November 3, 2011

I just started Ready Player One, a really awesome sci-fi book that came out this year. I’m already hooked. As a kid, my favorite books were the Saddle Club series… I think my whole collection is still at my parents’ house!

Thanks for this post–I’m still taking point-and-shoot pics and trying to convince my photog friend to help me out.

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Carolyn @ HealthKitten.com November 3, 2011

I think I need to pick up that book! I’ve been using my camera in “auto” mode with no lighting, and it definitely shows! I might have to pick up this book!

I just finished reading “A Dance With Dragons” and now I’m going back to the “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”. But lately I’ve been playing the latest Professor Layton game on my Nintendo DS! Puzzle games are my addiction, and this one is a favorite series of mine.

You should do a photography tutorial about Lightroom! That program mystifies me…

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Carolyn @ HealthKitten.com November 3, 2011

And me mentioning that I need to pick up that book twice in one paragraph is an indication of how little sleep and how little caffeine I’m rocking today! ;)

Sorry!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011

A tutorial is a fun idea :) I would love to show how easy it is. It honestly takes me about 30 seconds per photo.

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen November 3, 2011

I’ve heard so many good things about this book, it’s going on my Christmas list :)
I got my DSLR in June and forced myself to never shoot in automatic so I feel like I’ve learned a ton in the past 5 months but I know there is so much more out there to soak up.
I went through a food book phase that has passed and now I’m back on fiction. I’m reading Slammerkin right now and love it.

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Caitlin November 3, 2011

Awesome book! I am still with a P&S right now and want to get a new Canon cam that my sis has already tried out and loves. It’s not a DSLR but it’s a step up from a Canon PowerShot. Not enough $ for anything more unfortunately!

Funny, I just blogged about books today too! I’m reading “The Pact” by Jodi Picoult and can’t put it down. I’m DYING to find the answer to the mystery but have a ways to go!

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Willow November 3, 2011

Awesome post! The book looks amazing – I’ve already added it to my christmas list :P

Thanks for sharing!

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XtineBeanie @ CleanLiving / DirtyWorld November 3, 2011

Ahhhh, Sweet Valley!!! I loved Nancy Drew and Roald Dahl books too. Oh, and Charlotte’s Web! Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, the Ramona books. I could go on and on. And this makes me want to get my hands on the Sweet Valley books and just give them another read :)

But seriously, this photography book looks great! I really need to learn a thing or two, and get out of auto myself. A better camera is also needed. Have you taken any classes? Your photography is always so stunning!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011

Thank you :) Yes Nancy Drew! Man, I can’t believe how many I forgot.

I haven’t taken any food photography courses, but I would loooove to.

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ali janine November 3, 2011

I LOVED babysitters club and sweet valley high- especially the mystery series and I also read them in my fort! (underneath the stairs lol). Unfortunately most of my reading these days is academic a.k.a boring!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011

I remember those days…I dont think I read one book “for fun” in 7 years…lol. The best feeling was giving the books away when I didnt need them anymore. :) You’ll get through it!

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ali janine November 3, 2011

Yes! I can’t wait to give away all my books, except for a select few which I actually found interesting. I’m in my last semester and can’t wait for exams to be over to pick up a good book :)

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Shruti November 3, 2011

I read Plate to Pixel, my first ever photography book. I love how Helene has tackled all the topics so easily. She made me handle my DSLR like a dear friend :)
I am yet to read more about food styling and photography. I would like for more suggestions on books for photography.

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Beth - Tasty Yummies November 3, 2011

Oooh – I am so glad you posted this. I am not sure how, but somehow I didn’t know this book existed. Just added it to my Amazon wishlist :)

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Kris | iheartwellness.com November 3, 2011

Oh girl, I’m embarrassed to tell you what I’m using now…Ryan took our good camera for a swim in his bag as his water bottle leaked all over it….so currently for this last couple weeks I’ve been using my BLACKBERRY!!! Fab foodblogger, right?! LOL.

We’re shopping now for a camera.

I love reading everything self help. I’m in love with Louise Hay right now – You Can Heal Your Life

xxoo

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011

hehe I’ve used Eric’s blackberry before too…it actually takes much better pics than I thought!

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Lauren (Maillard'sMistress) November 3, 2011

For a minute there, I thought you were describing me. Haha. I like reading nonfiction to learn, in general.

I actually just yesterday requested this book from my library and I’m really excited to get it. I have a Canon DSLR too and am still working through using it to its best potential… I finally found the plug-in to use my camera in RAW mode and it is awesome and so much easier to use than I expected! I can’t wait for daylight savings to kick in so I can get a little more light later on.

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Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn November 3, 2011

STUNNING photography mydear. I need to work on borrowing my roommate’s Rebel!

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Anna @ On Anna's Plate November 3, 2011

I’m still a fiction girl at heart– must be the English teacher in me :-) Right now though, I’m actually reading non-fiction– Mary Karr’s memoir, Lit. Very intense– and very good.

I love all of the photography talk– I’d like to really take my photography to the next level…it’s such a fun hobby to work on!

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Erin @ The Grass Skirt November 3, 2011

I do have to say that your photography is always incredible. I’ll have to check out that book since I am trying to improve my camera skills. As a child, I loved the Beverly Clearly books, The Babysitter’s Club, Little Women, and Anne of Green Gables (ever see the movies? They were also my favorite!).

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011

The movies are my favourite too!
I’ve been to PEI and visited the Anne of Green Gables houses….umm yea huge fan over here!

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Jalil Lindsey-lowe November 3, 2011

Thanks for featuring this book! I have it on my wish list and I was patiently waiting to hear something great about it!

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Amanda November 3, 2011

I think we had similar taste in fiction as kids. I LOVED the choose your own adventure books. Did you read the Goosebumps books?! Those were also a favorite. :)

I’m so excited to get this Plate to Pixel book. I’ve only been using a “real” camera for about a month, but already can tell between now and then I’ve learned so much. My husband does some professional photography and is kind enough to let me use his camera. He’s trying to teach me how to “compose within the camera” now. Up until recently, I would have had no idea what that meant. haha

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011

Goosebumps…yea!!

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Amber K November 3, 2011

Wow, I could so have written this post! I loved all of the series you mentioned as a kid. I think Chronicles of Narnia was my favorite. And I grew up leaning more towards non-fiction, especially memoirs and health-related topics.

I was also constantly taking pictures of anyone and anything that crossed my path. Haven’t gotten into the actual nice cameras yet though. I know they would make my pictures look a LOT better, but I just don’t have that kind of money right now or the time to truly get my money’s worth out of it. But your pictures are always so breath-taking, your time and care really shows!

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Liz November 3, 2011

As a kid, I loved the Goosebumps books as well as the Boxcar Children. The Giver was another favorite, so much so that the pages are falling out now :) These days, I’m too consumed with college textbooks to read much of anything else. I graduate in December though, and the thing I’m looking forward to most is having a lot more time to read. Like you, I prefer non-fiction these days – anything to do with my hobbies.

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J.Lynn November 3, 2011

amazing photos and admirable progression :)

I too was once an avid fiction reader. Nowadays, I’d much rather read a book about how to do something, or a book about a place I’d like to travel to. Although, getting lost in a good fictional book is an occasional thing for me.

Hope your having a wonderful Thursday darlin’,
J.Lynn

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011

I love travel books too :)

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Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living November 3, 2011

I LOVE plate to pixel! Helene’s book inspired me to buy an indoor tungsten lighting kit, as well as to start saving up for a DSLR. I’ve only read up through the artificial lighting chapter thus far, but – as you said – I’ve already learned so much.

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Cherie November 3, 2011

I like those Choose Your Own Adventure Books, I like to think life is a lot like that to – which road do we head down? I just always wonder what would have happened if I’d gone to page 57 instead of 78, :-).
I have a huge cookbook collection, and two locations for them. In fact I need to resort because my kitchen spot is overflowing. That’s where the books I reference regularly to cook go. I know, why do I have the others? Well, sometimes you just want a good cookbook to read ;-).
Having switched over to a lot of non-fiction, I find I still go for the fiction to relax, when I’m sick, etc., but last night in spite of being sick I ended up with Last Child in the Woods by Louv. Interesting, thought provoking, not necessarily relaxing.

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debra ford November 3, 2011

I just ordered these books which I am very excited about.

Spork-Fed: Super Fun and Flavorful Vegan Recipes from the Sisters of Spork Foods
Jenny Engel, Heather Goldberg
and The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner, and Living Compassionately.
I am so enjoying my diet change and how good I feel! Thank you for inspiring me to do this!

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes November 3, 2011

I lovedLOVED all the Anne books as a kid…and still do now! Anne and Gilbert! Woot :D

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011

Anne and Gilbert forevaaaaaa lol

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katie@ KatieDid November 3, 2011

I also read plate to pixel and it changed everything I know about food photography and has helped me grow so much! I pull it out all the time for reference also. Right now I’m reading on and off- What Color is Your Parachute? Which is all about job searching and finding your true passions and skills in life. As a senior in college its been helping me narrow my focus a ton!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011

that sounds like a cool book!

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Donna @ Life of a Happy Blonde November 3, 2011

I loved all books growing up, especially nancy drew :)
I really need to read some books on how to use my DSLR properly, i have only mastered a few of the settings
Oh and right now i’m reading The Night Circus, great book!

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PressureCookerDiaries November 3, 2011

Just wanted to say that I used to LOVE the make your own adventure books. I’d read them once choosing things I really would do, then again choosing all the opposite things, and sometimes cover-cover just to see all the different options (even though it was out of order).

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Misty November 3, 2011

I looove to read. Mostly non-fiction. I usually go with whatever I keep seeing out there, or what people (friends) suggest. Currently reading Pillars of the Earth. :)

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Antonia November 3, 2011

Thanks for the book tip. Will order it soon!

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