Bloggers Helping Bloggers

Help From A Fellow Blogger

There is a phenomenon at work here on WordPress.  It is a Twenty-First Century style community that feels very much like a Nineteenth or Twentieth Century rural community in which neighbors help neighbors.  A barn-raising kind of community.  I wanted to share an experience that I had recently with a blogger who lives in Australia.   Her name is Leanne Cole, and one of her blogs is Leanne Cole’s Photography Field Trips.  She is a professional photographer who is also skilled in the use of graphics programs to edit her photographs.  She regularly has over a hundred visitors a day who come to her blog to discover the ways in which she utilizes Paintshop Pro and other programs to enhance and transform her photographs.

EPIC FAIL

I posted this photograph as an epic fail in a post on The Fuzzy Foto.  Following is the photograph.

I knew that the photograph had no real point of focus … maybe, no point at all.  I knew it was a bad photo, but I had no idea what to do about it.

Leanne saw it on my blog, The Fuzzy Foto, and kindly suggested that I crop some of the sky to bring the end of the tracks closer to the top in order to draw the eye toward a focal point.  I tried that in the next photo that I posted:

The photograph didn’t get any better.  I was not pleased with this result either and was ready to declare it a total fail and forget it.

~THEN~

Leanne offered to work on the photograph for me.  Here is her description of what she did and the result.

Leanne’s Tutorial

The first thing I noticed is that the image seemed quite dark, so I lightened it up with levels, and that made a massive improvement straight away.  Now the next bit isn’t going to make much sense, but if you saw my tutorial on Monday, where I darkened the whole image and then lightened up a small section, that will help you to understand what I did next.

 

So I decided to darken the whole image,and I kept doing it until there was a lot more detail in the sky.  I wanted to bring out those clouds. 

Of course, it then made the entire image too dark, so I selected a the railway line with the lasso too, then feathered it at 300 pixels and then used the curves to lighten the railway line.

 

After that, I added a new layer and allied the image, then added a small amount of Gaussian blur.  I added a mask and took the blur away from the railway lines and everything in between  leaving it on the outside.

 

I cropped the image so there wasn’t so much space on either side, and I added some gradient to the top and the bottom through that list bit I love.   I don’t know if others do.

 

That was pretty much it.

~♥~

When I opened the email and saw the photo, I was amazed at the difference.  I think the photograph is much improved.  I am happy with the result.  And, I am happy to know that bloggers here help other bloggers!  This community has been unbelievably kind to me, and I am constantly encouraged and cheered by the support I receive from all of you!

Thank you, Leanne!

Leanne offers critiques of other photographers’ photographs as well as offering an editing service for photographs.

 

79 Comments on “Bloggers Helping Bloggers

  1. Dang, I had to scroll down for like… ever. You’re popular. Funny how things that seem useless to us can have something intrinsic that keeps us from tossing them just yet. The we see what someone else does with them, and the value emerges. Love this blog. I do.

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  2. I think helping each other is a good thing, and I think it’s being done on most blog portals. (I’ve been to a few over the last 7 years) Today there are a multitude of programs that may improve/alter digital pictures or movies. And they cost money! (Sometimes the shirt off your bopdy 🙂 )
    There is, however, a small problem: The more advanced a such program may be, the more money you’ll have to invest and the more tutorials you’ll have to absorb. (And they cost money as well!) In fact, these programs are so advanced, and may do so much for your pictures, that you have to work the programs actively for at least a couple of hours every day not to forget what you have just learned! And the majority of us don’t.
    Thus we forget! An you’ll have to take a refresher course. Then you forget . . . 😀 (But it’s fun! )

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    • I think I will just have to take basically what I get with a little editing that I can understand. I snap for fun. Everybody is so kind here on WP. Nobody laughs, at least not out loud, at my photos. Thanks for visiting! I apologize for my tardiness in responding. I really do appreciate your taking the time to comment too.

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    • I’m sorry it took me so long to respond. I’m thrilled that you were the 100th person too. 🙂 Thank you very much for visiting. I am on my way to apologize ‘in person’.

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  3. Hey George … I noticed that you commented recently on my post concerning my wife’s knitting project. I hadn’t heard from you in a while (or seen any likes … ) and wondered whether you were OK? Are you? D

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    • Yep, I’m okay. I’ve been out of pocket for awhile really. For some reason, I am finding it difficult to get my old act together! I always remember you as my new age pioneer couple though … and I smile. Thanks for checking in on me. I’ll stumble on around to your place soon to discover what you guys have been up to! 🙂

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      • I’m very sorry to hear that you haven’t been feeling well (at least I’ll venture to assume that that’s what ‘out-of-pocket’ means). My motto has always been ‘Life is an Oscillator,’ meaning that the low points are normal – just as normal as the high points. Be patient the winds will fill the sails once more – soon – I promise! Be tough. I’ll be looking for you. Dave

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    • Yes, I believe they are! No wonder, though, being surrounded by such wonderful birds, a people couldn’t avoid being nice! Thanks, dou dou. I saw your new little green bird who is just too sweet!

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  4. Pingback: Antique Impressions:George’s Rail « Dark Pines Photo

  5. Fascinating transformation. Thanks for the informative post George. It is good to too see still on track with photography & blogging. 🙂
    BTW Can I take a shot at transforming one of your photos ? No eyeballs will be used & I will avoid Lovecraft references.

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    • I would be absolutely delighted, as you might have known! Take anything you like. I’m flattered that you would be interested in fooling with my snaps! 🙂 Yeah, no eyeballs allowed…

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      • Thanks very much. I just posted something d very different to some of my other stuff. I will see what I can do with your railway shot. Love the perspective and use of line. 🙂

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      • I have posted my interpretation of your rail image. I included a few transition steps & an explanation.

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  6. I still wouldn’t be able to achieve that kind of transformation even after a detailed tutorial like that 🙂 Amazing!

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    • Hi, Madhu! Me either! I’m glad to see your pretty face! I’ve thought about you, but I don’t get there. I declare I’m on my way! I’ve been loafing. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and nudging me on over to your place!

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  7. I enjoy playing with my photos, to see what I can get to develop in an otherwise ordinary shot … but I don’t have the skills Leanne does … I’m off to check out her blog. And yes, the blogging community IS a nice place to hang out 😉

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  8. I loved watching this story evolve, and I especially liked seeing the wordpress community in action. I think Leanne Cole’s photography is very fresh and exciting, but then again so is your photography. You have a lifetime of experience but are still so open to learning and improving. It’s why I love you!

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    • Ah, NoNo. My favorite child! You must visit me in Texas. Your enthusiasm inspires me and makes me smile, you know! I have a too-big house with lots of room for you to visit! 🙂

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  9. I know of Leanne’s site as well … she’s quite talented. You should try a bit of manipulation yourself. Do you know about GIMP? It’s open-access manipulation software that you can play with before making the big jump to something like Photoshop. Try it … you’ll like it. D

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    • Leanne did a tutorial using GIMP. Thanks a bunch. The though occurred to me to look for it, but I forget what day it is, you know! Your photographs are SO darn professional. And interesting and gorgeous and impossibly informative and gush … gush. I swear I mean every word. I am amazed every time I remember to wander over to your place. You and your wife are the new pioneers, I think. You make me happy every time I visit! 🙂

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      • George … you’re the best. Comments such as yours make me feel about ten feet tall. How kind. Much appreciated. You really should try downloading GIMP – it’s quite useful and fairly easy to use. I can help if you’ve got questions. As I indicated earlier … if you like it and learn the basics with it … you can then purchase something like Photoshop. I tend to keep my manipulations fairly simple, brightness, contrast, levels, curves, and cropping … not much else … in any case, what else would you really need? Try it … you won’t regret it. And keep those image boosters coming! D

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        • I use Paintshop Pro for all of those adjustments, but I understand little else! Usually basic editing is all that is required if you start with a decent image! 🙂 Thanks. I’m going to download GIMP now.

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  10. Thanks for sharing this!! I am so behind in following…..but I did find this really interesting :)….I don’t know if you’re still interested…but I do have a “Being Bob” hardcover book…just let me know if you are…if not…no problem..:)

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    • Thanks, Graham! I couldn’t believe that I didn’t immediately know how to fix the photo. This was an unimportant snapshot, but it presented a problem that I couldn’t solve. Leanne is very helpful to everybody. I appreciate your stopping in! 🙂

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  11. Wow, George, you got lots of responses, sorry it has taken my so long to put in my two cents worth. Really I didn’t do a lot and the main thing I did was lighten it which made a massive difference and change the shape of the image, so it is portrait. I am so glad you like what I did and hope the next time you think you have a failure, you might try some other stuff as well.

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    • I think everybody is struck by the transformation in the image. I was too. Thank you for demonstrating effective cropping for a much better composition and use of light here. I appreciate it, Leanne. 🙂

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  12. Several bloggers have helped me with tech support. Yes, my tiny part of wordpress does feel like family esp with those I have met and shared griefs and joys on personal email level.

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    • You are a “people person” anyway, Carl. Who could resist a guy with a comic world view? I thought I was following you, but just discovered that I lost you somehow. Anyway, I got back on board. Thanks for stopping in! Boy is onto a project to draw cityscapes. He told me the other day that he is going to send you two free ones! He says he’s going to sell them on eBay. No, I did not laugh. 🙂

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  13. I love the support that the blogging community provides, for me it has been quite a positive experience and judging by your post and the responses you’ve received it appears that way for many of us 🙂

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    • Yes, I think all of us appreciate the sense of community here. It’s a twenty-first century phenomenon that connects people in a way that was never possible before. Thanks! 🙂

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  14. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover the community spirit on WordPress, as I hadn’t encountered anything like it on Blogger. 🙂

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    • I have read lots of blogs there, and I don’t see the level of community support in the comments either. This is a solid community of people who do support each other. I feel very at home here too! Thanks for your visit and the astute observation. 🙂

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  15. It was very generous of her to help you out. I also follow Leanne’s blog: Leanne and myself are often using the same software and it’s always interesting to see others workflow, plus I like her style.

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  16. That’s wonderful! We have a wonderful community of bloggers/friends/teachers here. I know I try to help when I can and I have received help when I’ve asked for it. WP has its share of glitches and critics, but the bloggers who are part of this big community are aces in my book–at least the ones I’ve come across. 🙂

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    • Yes, they are. Such a diversity of talent in one place is astounding, really. Everybody’s willingness to share and to help is encouraging in a world in which we see such division and violence. I am encouraged every day to remember that there is sanity in the world still … and a good belly laugh at Lorna’s place always! 🙂

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    • Thanks, Nia! You are the best of the best in your support of other bloggers! You always hang in there with me even when it takes me weeks to get back to your blog. Know that I think about you! I still have the photograph of the wonderful rose that you experimented with in the suds bowl. It’s one of my all time favorite images. I’m still hoping that you will publish “The Cats of Istanbul”! 🙂

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      • You are welcome dear George, you are so nice, as always. My eyes are always looking for your posts/photographs… You are amazing photographer. I wish to publish one day “The Cats of Istanbul”… I wish. But in these days I am very busy because of this new house. And also I need my son’s help too. He is in our new house, he is busy too. Thank you dear, angels, beauties, muses and the Sun be with you always, love, nia

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  17. George, I don’t know anything about p[hotography and I don’t have an aeye for detail, but I can say firmly that Leanne did a good job. Indeed, the blogging community is just wonderful. We are each other’s keeper. 🙂

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    • RP, I don’t know a thing about it either. I’m a “Happy Snapper”! If the settings get off, I have to get my guru to reset them. I can adjust ISO, but that’s about it! 🙂 I agree that we are each others keepers. It constantly amazes me. What amazes me even more is the way in which people here have accepted me even with my comments that often come across as crass or dumb or both. 🙂 I have the unfortunate tongue-in-cheek syndrome. I forget that we are not sitting side by side in conversation. You know how much I admire your work. Thanks for visiting me here!

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    • Ah, my sweet Pablo! You are so nice to me. I understood what I should have done when I saw what Leanne did. I did not frame the photo when I shot it. I stuck the camera out of the car window and snapped! I will be more careful to pay attention to framing IN the viewfinder! Thanks! 🙂

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  18. Yes, the blogging community is amazing. I am always surprised by what you photographers can do with your photos. And it is great to connect to the world from our little Texas towns.

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    • I agree. Amazing to me too! I think all of us, young and old, are finding a world community here that doesn’t exist anywhere else. We offer the best of ourselves to share with each other. That reinforces my hope for a better world. What a grand time to be alive, huh? My mother envisioned this kind of benefit from technology and often told me that she would like to be alive to see it! 🙂

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  19. i’ve made many friends through the blogging ‘thing’ – whatever it is. it is a good thing. and i REALLY enjoyed that you shared the process. to me, it’s a mysterious and unknown realm – and sharing the ‘photo makeover’ took away some of that. LOVE the pic, by the way!

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    • Well, Daisy, I followed a political blog on WP for a year or two when I had no idea what WP is or what a blog is. I don’t know what I thought it was! I have no idea how I came to follow it even! That’s how in the dark I was! When I tried to comment on another blog that I followed a link to, I was prompted to create a Gravatar. Didn’t know what a Gravatar was either. I just waded on into the murky water! 🙂 From there, I decided to start a blog thing because WP asked if I wanted to do it! Ha ha.

      One day, I have to re-post my very first post. I didn’t write one word. I posted some photo from NASA to try it out. I had hell trying to figure out how to post anything at all. Somehow I found a couple of people here who actually followed me! They were nice to me. I was amazed that a seventy-year-old from a little town in Texas was accepted as an equal in this community. I am still floored when an obviously seasoned and skilled writer or photographer or historian or scholar or writer talks to me or reads my blog. Leanne Cole is a photographer with twenty years in the business. She lives in Australia. She has a huge following. Why would she follow my blogs or offer her help? That is the essence of what we have here. I think it’s a “milk of human kindness” phenomenon at work. People help us for no apparent reason. We reach out to each other and become part of each others worlds. There is no more perfect example of humans sharing with humans!

      The magic of this place allows me to meet YOU. Now, what are the chances of that happening anywhere else? I think I know the Daisy who is interesting and creative and funny, irreverent, and brainy. That’s the real Daisy! The rest is just extraneous stuff! 🙂

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      • Great tale of blog birth! On par with most childbirth stories i’ve heard, actually! Best damn slippery slope i’ve ever ridden, too…

        i have been so deeply touched, and laughed SO hard, and cried an incredible number of tears, because of these imaginary people who live inside my computer. Flat Earth Society for the 21st Century!

        So very glad i found you, a talented, smart and gracious 70 year old Texas lady!

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    • Me too, Sandy! Leanne does a phenomenal editing job on photos. I read her tutorials, but I’m not good enough with graphics programs to do more than basic editing. Thanks for visiting. I’ll come around to your place soon! 🙂

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    • I hadn’t thought about that, but you’re right. I had real trouble with this photo! I was sitting in my car astride the tracks with the camera stuck out the window. I didn’t pay much attention to what I was doing! Thanks for your visit and the observation. 🙂

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  20. Leanne’s interpretation is an interesting approach, it creates a much more romantic image.

    Framing and subsequent cropping are probably the most important tools we have as photographers, as they give us the ability to say ‘see this’. They are our way of focussing attention and creating mood. For instance, in your original image, with the full sky, it’s very much a ‘head up, proud, ready for the journey’ composition, while your cropped version has a more ‘head down, trudging’ feel to it. Leanne’s crop, as I’ve suggested, creates a romantic image, pictorial in nature, whilst your original image has a much more gritty documentary feel to it, as it includes elements of local environment – cropping the bottom third off (or maybe landscape framing in the original image?), say, might accentuate this. (I would also suggest her crop brings us back to something that could have been framed at the point of exposure – one of the dangers of significant cropping is the massive reduction in pixels and subsequent reduction in our ability to print out at a reasonable size.)

    The wiggly bits, contrast, levels, curves, saturation, clone tools, etc etc, then allow global or specific adjustment of the picture to enhance it as our individual artistic interpretation dictates and our budget and experience allows. These tools are so comprehensive and adaptable, we each build up a repertoire of our favourite techniques, which continually alters as we learn more or become more practised in each.

    If the subject is quite close to you, you may be able to revisit to retake when the weather conditions are different, perhaps more character in the sky, maybe a wet floor would add a further dimension. Is there a black and white interpretation here too?

    Photography is a great medium for expression.

    (By the way, if you return, don’t to keep an eye/ear open for any approaching trains!)

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    • Thank you, Stephen. You’ve pointed out a very important fault in what I do, I think. I am very likely to shoot out the car window, as I did here, without paying attention to framing the shot for what I want it to say. You are so right about loss of pixels! I have to be more focused than I have been. Your comments here have been tremendously helpful. Why don’t you do a tutorial once a month or something? I’d love it! Thanks again. 🙂

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      • Not sure I’d see it as a fault as such, it’s a way of working which may offer more spontaneity than something more considered as I suggest. And that is one of the balances we have to make and depends very much on you and your approach – which may differ from my own – which is why photography can be so diverse. Great stuff. 😉
        Thanks for the idea, not sure that’s my thing at the moment (though you may remember my post on focal length, which I hoped might be useful to some. http://stephenhip.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/17-40-70-200mm-angle-of-view/ )

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    • Leanne is very good with editing and her tutorials are very helpful. I especially like your photos of the coast and your commentary explaining what we’re looking at. The hammock photo in the header is priceless! 🙂 Thank you for stopping by. I always recognize you from your unique Gravatar. Great choice!

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    • Hi, Marianne! I see your Gravatar at Leanne’s blog and have meant to visit you. Thanks for stopping by. I just followed you so I get your posts in my Reader. I’ll be around soon! And, yes, Leanne’s tutorials are very helpful. 🙂

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  21. What a great post– both on a personal/spiritual level – and also with regard to photography technique . Your train tracks really have come a long way…fascinating how they made the transition. This was wonderful to read George ~ Sending you good thoughts ~ RL

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    • I know. I am not good with graphics manipulation so it is frustrating for me! Leanne is very kind to everybody who is having trouble with photos. Everybody here is so positive and supportive. It’s a really wonderful place to play! 🙂 Thank you, Robyn!

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  22. George
    It seems we’ve been out of touch for a while. I hope all has been well for you. I’m lost in my own little sphere here in the Middle East. Despite the news (burning German embassy in Sudan) and unrest, it really is pretty safe. The news cycle is to report violence and unrest. Everything else is not news. I know this from watching the local New York news which reports all the murders and mayhem. But really it’s safe enough for the average citizen in New York (Middle East). It’s rare that a tourist is killed on the subway, but it never fails to be big news. Anyway, thanks so much for visiting and catching up with my blog. Your comments are overwhelmingly kind and appreciated. For some reason,( it appears I am listed as ‘following’ your blog), your posts have escaped notification to me. This post is particularly helpful. It has made me appreciate what a bit of photo editing can accomplish. We, once again, enter into that murky debate of art vs reality. If it’s photo journalism, there can be no alteration. As you may recall a photo journalist was fired for adding a bit of smoke to the skyline to enhance the artillery shelling in the Middle East. Harmless enough but untrue and he was found out. It’s a tricky subject. I have not hesitated to alter my dive photos to enhance the subjects. Here, your image has been improved but the original image is essentially unchanged. The mid portion (grass/fence) is pleasantly out of focus and gives completely different feel than the before shot. Also the concrete (footsteps?) defects are highlighted in the edited version. For me this is visualization of the original image at the time you shot it. And the edit is to reach that goal of allowing the viewer to see what you saw/visualized when you pressed the shutter. It is the difference between a snap shot and a photograph. All the best to you. And thanks again for all of your comments and encouragement.

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    • Thank you for this insight. I’ve heard you say this before, but I forget it! I read your critiques of photos sometimes. This is a great explanation of the difference in a snapshot and a photograph as the photographer actually saw it. Be careful and don’t let a fish eat you!! 🙂 Thanks, Victor!

      Like

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