The PhotoPills Expedition to the Canadian Rockies is Sold Out (Join the Waiting List)

By Rafael Pons

The PhotoPills Expedition to the Canadian Rockies is SOLD OUT!


All 12 spots are already gone!

Thanks so much :D

Wish to join us?

Don't give up!

There are always cancellations...

Click here to join the Waiting List.

Be the first one to know when a cancellation occurs.

We’re going to the Canadian Rockies...

Are you in?

Around the Last Quarter Moon...

And the Autumnal Equinox (the kick off of the Aurora season)...

From September 22nd to September 28th 2024, Rachel Jones Ross, Bryan Peters and Antoni Cladera (PhotoPills Masters) will be travelling across the Canadian Rockies to photograph the Aurora Borealis, the Milky Way and Autumn’s Golden Light along with golden trees, turquoise lakes, majestic mountains, the elk rutting and maybe even grizzly bears...

Right when the Sun has entered the period of solar maximum, which means we will be more likely to see and photograph the dancing green lights of the Aurora!

Of course...

We’ll be taking photos all day long...


Can you imagine it?

To photograph the Aurora Borealis, the Milky Way and the beautiful Autumn’s Golden Light with the changing fall colours, turquoise lakes, rushing rivers, deep forests, clouds inversions, snow-capped mountains, the elk and moose rutting... and, if lucky, even grizzly bears!

We’re dreaming about it!

To achieve it, we’ll use the planning power of PhotoPills and the expert knowledge of Rachel Jones Ross, Bryan Peters and Antoni Cladera to always be at the right place at the right time.

Top secret: We have quite a few legendary photos planned already... Also, we’ll have special access to Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, where access is super limited ;)

The Deal (only 12 spots)

Since you subscribed to the Priority Access list...

We're offering you a €500 discount on the regular price!

All you have to do is to book 1 of the 12 spots available before Sunday April 28th.

Read carefully all the details of this unique adventure.

And when you’re ready, click here to book your spot.

Please, book as soon as possible. The seats are sold on a first come, first served basis.

The Adventure

12 PhotoPillers | 3 PhotoPills Masters | Canadian Rockies | Endless legendary photos

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Warning! This is not a honeymoon... But it’s not a hiking adventure either. All shooting spots are at a short walking distance from the car.

We’re recruiting 12 brave PhotoPillers (PhotoPills and photography nerds) to join us on an 7-day expedition to photograph the Aurora Borealis, the Milky Way and Autumn’s Golden Light along with some of the gems hidden in the majestic Canadian Rockies.

When fall comes to the northern lands, it doesn't last long, but it's really amazing to see. The cooler air makes clouds that sit right on top of the mountains like a fluffy blanket, and the trees start to show off bright, beautiful colors before they go to sleep for the winter.

The landscape is not the only thing that will captivate you in the autumn. The weeks around the autumnal equinox on September 22, 2024 signal the start of aurora-watching season.

From the first week in September through the end of October, the chances of seeing the dancing ribbons of the mysterious northern lights will be reaching a peak, as the aurora is most visible during the fall and spring equinox periods due to the angle of the Earth in relation to the sun.

And, in the quiet stillness that settles over the front range of the mountains we will see bears fill their bellies before hibernation, elk and moose rutting, and birds flying south for the winter. If we are really lucky, we may also catch a glimpse of wolves, cougars, lynx or foxes.

This expedition is a non-stop adventure to chase legendary photos and you are a key asset!

We have planned tons of photos, and we’ll travel many kilometers to capture them...

But we also want to maximize our flexibility in terms of itinerary and schedule in order to take advantage of all the opportunities that the changing weather will surely put in our way.

If we're fortunate enough to be out photographing the Aurora or the Milky Way at night and it takes us into the late hours, we'll take a little extra sleep the next morning, skip Sunrise and kick start our day a bit later.

On the other hand, if the conditions make us skip the nighttime photography session, we'll rise and shine early to catch the Sunrise.

Whichever path we take, you can count on us to seize every photo opportunity and be right where the magic happens!

You are about to embark on a PhotoPills’ style journey. And it’s not going to be a honeymoon precisely... :P

You’ll be a true photographer!

Are you in?

Day 1. Sunday, September 22nd - Welcome to the Canadian Rockies

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It’s Sunday morning...

And you land in an early flight at the YYC Calgary International Airport in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Although I suggest arriving the day before and staying at a hotel near the airport to have time to rest a bit before the action begins. I recommend the Hotel 11, MOD A Sonesta Collection.

10:00 am

After picking you up at the airport (or at the Hotel 11), we’ll continue our journey towards the Rockies.

Due to its wonderful pristine nature, the Canadian Rockies have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage-list. The magnificent mountains stretch for about 180,000 km2 (69,500 mi2) through Alberta and British Columbia.

12:30 pm

We arrive at the village of Canmore, located in the Bow Valley within Alberta's Rocky Mountains, where the comfortable Falcon Crest Lodge by Clique will be our base and home for the rest of the week.

Check-in starts at 3pm so we’ll spend some time buying groceries, snacks, clothes or anything else that you may need during the expedition.

1:30 pm

Lunch at a local restaurant.

What about having the crispy skin salmon, the bison sirloin or the Buddha bowl? Delicious!

3:30 pm

After checking-in, the expedition briefing will begin.

During the session, Rachel, Antoni and Bryan will go over the plan and logistics for the week.

But most importantly, we’ll do a class on How to Shoot Aurora, to get you ready for the nights to come.

6:00 pm

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Today we’ll photograph Sunset and, if lucky, the Aurora in Lake Minnewanka, located in Banff.

Lake Minnewanka is a super large glacial lake. It’s 21 km (13 mi) long and 142 m (466 ft) deep.

The lake is surrounded by a stunning mountain range. Among the peaks, we find Mount Inglismaldie (2,964m or 9,724 ft) and Mount Girouard (2,995m or 9,826 ft).

But before the Sunset show begins, Rachel will do a focus stacking demo, so you learn this important technique that allows us to get from front to back tack sharp!

6:30 pm

We’re staying on the other side of the lake, where the view of the mounts is spectacular. It’s time to use the PhotoPills Planner and the Augmented Reality view to plan our Sunset shot:

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The Sun is setting at 7:38 pm on the horizon. But it’ll hide before behind the tall peaks at our back. So we need to be ready, at the planned shooting spot, to capture the light on Mount Girouard in front of us.

Golden hour begins at 6:54 pm, Sunset is at 7:38pm, golden hour ends at 7:58 pm and blue hour ends at 8:11 pm.

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8:00 pm

What happens after Sunset will depend on the Aurora forecast and the cloud layer.

If there are chances of getting the Aurora dancing in the sky, we’ll stay and enjoy the show.

Get your snacks and groceries ready!

Also, the Moon (67%) rises at 9:29 pm. And as it gets higher and higher, its reflected light will help us with our foreground exposures :)

Plan & Pray!

On the contrary...

If there is no Aurora, we’ll pack up and go back to the hotel where we’ll enjoy a well deserved dinner.

We'll go to bed early because we have an early start!

Photographic pills:

  • Sunset, golden hour and blue hour at Lake Minnewanka.
  • Aurora Borealis at Lake Minnewanka (if there is Aurora)
  • Practising focus stacking technique.

Day 2. Monday, September 23rd - The Two Lakes

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4:15 am

Wake up, Sunrise awaits us!

Nestled within the breathtaking embrace of the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake is more than just a body of water; it's a turquoise treasure that seems to have sprung from the very essence of dreams.

The iconic vistas available from both the easily accessible lakeshore and the slightly elevated rockpile provide not only a feast for the eyes but also an unparalleled opportunity for photographers seeking that quintessential shot

The lake is located at an elevation of approximately 1,884 m (6,181 ft) and has a surface area of 50 hectares (120 acres)!

And we’re lucky enough to have special access to the lake :)

6:00 am

Before Sunrise, Rachel will do a demo on how to use your wide angle lens to find compositions.

The Sun rises on our left side. At first, its golden light will be blocked by the surrounding peaks. But later, when it’s high enough, we expect to have more light in our scene to make the turquoise of the lake and the surrounding trees pop!

Blue hour begins at 7:00 am, golden hour begins at 7:13 am, Sunrise is at 7:33 am and golden hour ends at 8:17 am.

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9:00 am

Breakfast at the Trailhead Cafe.

10:00 am

We have a 2h 20 min drive to our next destination: Abraham lake.

This man-made lake boasts a serene and ethereal charm that sets it apart from other bodies of water.

Stretching across vast expanses, Abraham Lake showcases a mesmerising blend of azure blue waters and icy landscapes, creating a sight that is both enchanting and awe-inspiring.

12:30 pm

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Our first goal here is to photograph the flooded Aspens.

Ah! And also bring your drone. The views from above are truly breathtaking.

2:30 pm

Late lunch (Early diner) at Nordegg Café.

4:30 pm

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One thing we love about Abraham Lake is the multiple photography options that it offers. We could spend several days just photographing the lake, the trees, the mountains...

We’ll spend the afternoon photographing in the area till Sunset.

So use PhotoPills to understand light direction and to plan your Sunset shot.

Light waits for no one!

Golden hour begins at 6:55 pm, Sunset is at 7:40pm, golden hour ends at 8:00 pm and blue hour ends at 8:13 pm.

10:00 pm

It’s been a long day...

We get into our rooms tired, but happy with the experiences lived and the photos captured.

Sleep well my friends.

Tomorrow another Sunrise awaits!

Photographic pills:

  • Sunrise, golden hour and blue hour at Moraine Lake.
  • Afternoon photos of flooded aspens at Abraham Lake.
  • Sunset, golden hour and blue hour at Abraham Lake.

Day 3. Tuesday, September 24th - The Turquoise Wolf

6:00 am

Another day, another Sunrise!

The good news is that the shooting spot is not far from our hotel in Canmore :)

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Canmore flourished as a significant coal-producing town in Alberta, transitioning to a focus on oil and gas in the mid-20th century.

Quarry Lake, our Sunrise location, originally an open-pit coal mine, was transformed into a recreational area by the late 20th century, symbolising Canmore's shift from industrial mining to tourism and managed by the Rocky Mountain Heritage Foundation and the Town of Canmore.

It’s a peaceful place ideal for enjoying the surrounding peaks and the early autumn colours in the trees.

Blue hour begins at 6:58 am, golden hour begins at 7:11 am, Sunrise is at 7:32 am and golden hour ends at 8:15 am.

9:00 am

Breakfast at a local Cafe.

10:30 am

Down time at the hotel.

12:00 pm

Lunch at a local restaurant.

1:00 pm

PhotoPills Class with Antoni Cladera and Focus Stacking class with Rachel.

3:30 pm

Imagine the crisp, early afternoon of Banff's fall season, when the air is filled with the echoing bugles of elk.

This is the rutting season, a time when male elks, adorned with magnificent antlers, vie for the attention of the females.

Photographing the elk rut is an exercise in patience and respect for wildlife; it requires keeping a safe distance, using long lenses, and often waiting silently for hours.

The reward is capturing the raw power and drama of nature: the clashing of antlers, the intensity in the elk's eyes, and the stunning backdrop of Banff's mountains and forests, all bathed in the soft, golden light of autumn.

Photographing the Elk is not guaranteed, but it’s worth trying!

Also, watch out for other wildlife (moose, bears, wolves, lynx or foxes)

Wish us good luck!

Because we need to be super lucky to be able to photograph wildlife here...

But the chances are there!

We’ll try our best :)

6:00 pm

We’re going to photograph Sunset and the Aurora at the beautiful Peyto Lake.

Do you see the wolf?

Owing its existence to Peyto Glacier, Peyto Lake is a natural masterpiece, a jewel nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

Its vibrant turquoise waters, surrounded by majestic mountains and pristine wilderness, create a sensory experience that is nothing short of extraordinary.

Now, add to the mix that the lake has the shape of the head of a wolf (see photo above) and that we’ll be framing north... And we couldn’t ask for a better place to photograph the Aurora.

The Sun will set behind Mt. Patterson (3,552 m, 11,654 ft), Candron Peak (2,911 m, 9,550 ft) and Peyto Lake, just in front of us.

Get ready to capture the Sun burst when the Sun meets the peaks ;)

Golden hour begins at 6:53 pm, Sunset is at 7:38pm, golden hour ends at 7:58 pm and blue hour ends at 8:11 pm.

8:00 pm

If there are chances of photographing the Aurora, we’ll have dinner in the field (pack some food) and we’ll stay till late at night enjoying the spectacle!

And if the Aurora is not dancing for us, well, well go back to the hotel and enjoy a well deserved rest.

Because, tomorrow is the Secret Day!

Photographic pills:

  • Sunrise, golden hour and blue hour at Quarry Lake.
  • Elt rutting in the meadows of Banff.
  • Sunset, golden hour and blue hour at Peyto Lake.
  • Aurora at Peyto Lake (if the Aurora is possible).

Day 5. Wednesday, September 25th - The Secret

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I’ve been giving you lots of details of this amazing expedition to the Canadian Rockies.

Maybe far too many...

But on September 25th we’ll do something very special...

What will that be?

Well, you'll have to be there, with us, to figure it out :P

Day 5. Thursday, September 26th - The Dragon and The Red Train

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6:00 am

After a relaxing sleep and a 1 h and 30 min drive, we arrive at Vermilion Lakes, our Sunrise destination in Bow Valley.

Here the view of Mount Rundle (2,948m or 9,672ft) and Sulphur Mountain (2,451m or 8,041ft) is spectacular.

We’re shooting towards the south. The Sun is rising in the east casting the morning golden light on Mount Rundle’s characteristic shape.

In my opinion, the rock formation resembles the back of a dragon... Don’t you think?

We’ll shoot here until the end of the golden hour.

Blue hour begins at 7:01 am, golden hour begins at 7:14 am, Sunrise is at 7:34 am and golden hour ends at 8:18 am.

9:00 am

Breakfast at a local Cafe.

10:30 am

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This is our second attempt to photograph the Elk Rutting in the meadows.

So get your telephoto lenses ready!

12:00 pm

Downtime at our hotel and lunch on your own.

2:00 pm

Class on editing wildlife photos with Bryan.

4:00 pm

Dinner at a pizza place we like :)

6:00 pm

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We arrive at our Sunset spot.

Morant’s curve is located in Lake Louise, about 1h drive away.

What’s so unique about this curve?


The story involves a train...

Morant's Curve gets its name from Nicholas Morant, a photographer working for the Canadian Pacific Railway in the mid 20th century.

His photos helped promote the railway and the Canadian Rockies.

So, in addition to the stunning mountains and the Bow River, the Canadian Pacific Railway train wraps itself through the beautiful scenery.

And this is what we want, to photograph the Red Engine train slowly travelling along the valley, next to the Bow River and among the mountains: Mount Temple (3,544m or 11,627ft), Mount Aberdeen (3,152m or 10,341ft), Popes Peak (3,163m or 10,377ft), and Waputik Peak (2,755m or 9,039ft)...

Golden hour begins at 6:47 pm, Sunset is at 7:32 pm, golden hour ends at 7:52 pm, and blue hour ends at 8:04 pm.

9:00 pm

Time to go to bed. Tomorrow we have another long day!

Photographic pills:

  • Sunrise, golden hour and blue hour at Vermillion Lakes.
  • Elt rutting in the meadows.
  • Sunset, golden hour and blue hour at Morant’s Curve.

Day 6. Friday, September 27th - The Three Sisters

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6:30 am

Today we’ll photograph the Sunrise with The Three Sisters...

Back in 1883, during Canmore's era as a coal mining hub, Albert Rogers observed the trio of peaks after a snowy tempest, their white summits resembling veiled nuns, and aptly dubbed them the “Three Nuns.”

However, by 1886, renowned geologist and mapmaker George Dawson had christened them the Three Sisters.

Each peak also bears its own name: Big Sister (2936 m, 9632 ft), Middle Sister (2769 m, 9084 ft), and Little Sister (2694 m, 8838 ft), symbolically representing Faith, Hope, and Charity.

The Sun is rising in the east, casting its morning golden light on the three emblematic peaks.

Time to press the shutter!

Blue hour begins at 7:03 am, golden hour begins at 7:16 am, Sunrise is at 7:36 am and golden hour ends at 8:20 am.

9:00 am

Breakfast at a local Cafe.

10:30 am

Downtime at the hotel.

12:30 pm

Lunch at a local restaurant.

2:00 pm

Class on Milky Way Shooting and Blue Hour Blending with Rachel.

5:30 pm

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Bow Lake is located on the Icefields Parkway, about 1h away from our lodge.

The impressive rock wall of Crowfoot Mountain (3,055m or 10,023ft), the glacier, and the infinite Wapta Icefield provide us with a unique photo opportunity.

And, on top of that, let’s add the first golden autumn colours. Cherry on the cake!

As the Sun goes down, we hope for Crowfoot Mountain to catch a bit of golden light from the side.

What a beautiful place, and what a majestic subject!

Golden hour begins at 6:46 pm, Sunset is at 7:31 pm, golden hour ends at 7:51 pm, and blue hour ends at 8:04 pm.

8:00 pm

Dinner in the field!

8:00 pm

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We want clear skies, we pray for clear skies... because our goal is to photograph the Milky Way rising over Bow Lake.

Plan and Pray!

Galactic Center visibility begins at 9:23 pm and Galactic Center visibility ends at 10:11 pm.

12:00 am

It’s been a long long day...

From Sunrise to Sunset, and then at night, we’ve been chasing the golden light, the Sun and the Milky Way...

Tomorrow one last adventure awaits!

Photographic pills:

  • Sunrise, golden hour, blue hour with the Three Sisters.
  • Sunset, golden hour, and blue hour at Bow Lake.
  • Milky Way rising next to Crowfoot Mountain at Bow Lake.

Day 7. Saturday, September 28th - The Farewell

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6:30 am

One last Sunrise in the Rockies...

This time involving a beautiful lake and Mount Rundle (2,948m or 9,672ft).

The shooting spot is by Two Jack Lake. We’re shooting, pointing to the East, towards Mount Rundle and the Sunrise direction.

At some point, we’ll see the Sun appear behind the majestic peak. Giving us a great opportunity to photograph one last Sunburst.

Blue hour begins at 7:05 am, golden hour begins at 7:18 am, Sunrise is at 7:39 am and golden hour ends at 8:22 am.

11:00 am

After a copious breakfast at Juniper Bistro, we will make our way back to Calgary Airport, where we expect to arrive at about 2:00 pm.

It’s time to say goodbye.

See you soon friends!

Life goes on...

Book now and save €500 (only 12 spots)

To book your spot to join the expedition to the Canadian Rockies at a reduced price of €5,500 (the official price is €6,000), a €1,000 deposit is required by Sunday, April 28th.

Payment in full is required by Sunday May 26th, 2024.

Please, finalize your booking as soon as possible. The seats are sold on a first come, first served basis.


What’s included in the price
  • PhotoPills Welcome Pack.
  • A 7-day expedition photographing the Canadian Rockies along with the Aurora Borealis, the Milky Way and Autumn’s golden light.
  • 7 days of learning, fun and adventure with Rachel Jones Ross, Bryan Peters and Antoni Cladera and the funniest geek community – the PhotoPillers.
  • Full immersion in the PhotoPills method (Imagine.Plan.Shoot!).
  • 6 nights of lodging (single room).
  • All activities on the Secret day.
  • Ground transportation during the expedition.
  • All transfers.
What’s not included
  • Flights/transport to Calgary, Canada.
  • Medical and travel insurance coverage (strongly recommended).
  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
  • Snacks, alcohol and beverages.
  • Visa.
  • Anything not mentioned in the “included” list.

Do you want an example of how huge this will be?

This is a glimpse to what happened in the 2016 PhotoPills Expedition to Iceland. We had so many adventures and so much fun... We can’t wait for the Canadian Rockies!

But you don’t have to take our word for granted. Here’s what some PhotoPillers say about the PhotoPills adventures:

“I went to Iceland expecting to have the opportunity to photograph the marvelous landscape and master nightscapes. What I encountered was so much more – 14 kindred souls from across the globe who share a passion for photography. Together we expanded our creative boundaries, learned from one another and had an insane amount of fun in the process. I am confident that everyone came away from the experience a better photographer.”

“From the very moment the guys from PhotoPills announced the expedition to Iceland... I didn’t think it twice! I was using PhotoPills but not at its full capacity, so I had no better chance to learn from the creators of this amazing app. The experience was even more amazing than anything I could have imagined. In Iceland, I discovered a bunch of folks as crazy about photography as I am. I had a blast!

Photography is a continuous learning process, you always find something new that motivates you to improve. And this adventure made me improve more than I could imagine.”

"The PhotoPills guys know how to create a fantastic experience. They bring an infectiously fun energy and are always willing to drop some handy photography knowledge on you that you will take with you. You take their trip and you'll for sure have a good time, get some amazing pics and leave a better photographer."

“During my experience in Iceland I lived wonderful moments and had surprises that were beyond the expected. It completely exceeded my initial expectations! Sharing knowledge, experiences and ways of working and living photography with such a great group has been one of the most enriching life experiences I have ever had.

Who he said that learning and knowledge sharing can not be wonderfully fun?”

“I can't say enough about what a fantastic time I had during the PhotoPills Iceland photo tour! The guys from PhotoPills and Donal Boyd were so knowledgeable, accommodating, and especially lots of fun. Never a dull moment – nonstop action and shooting of amazing landscapes for 10 days. I came away with enough images and memories to last a lifetime!”


What’s the temperature in the Canadian Rockies in September?

At the end of September, the Canadian Rockies begin to feel the onset of autumn. The average temperatures can vary quite a bit due to changes in elevation and specific locations, but generally, daytime highs are around 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F), and nighttime lows can drop to around -2°C to 5°C (28°F to 41°F).

Always be prepared for colder weather and possible snow at higher elevations, as the weather can change rapidly in the mountains.

What do you recommend I bring along for the expedition?

Your sense of adventure and fun, your camera and your sense of humour, of course.

Besides that? When you book your seat, we’ll send you an email that will give you further details and suggestions about what to bring (gear, clothing, etc.).

Is travel insurance included in the price of the expedition?

No. Participants are suggested to purchase national or international medical and travel insurance coverage.

Also, we recommend you to choose a travel insurance that:

  • Covers trip cancellation costs.
  • Covers Covid-19 health, travel and cancellation costs.

What is the cancellation policy?

We hope you don’t need to cancel your spot, but if a situation arises where you don’t have a choice, our cancellation policy is the following.

If you cancel and the expedition is otherwise filled, we'll refund you the full booking fee you have paid, minus a €300 administrative fee.

If you cancel and the expedition doesn’t fill, then you’ll be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the expedition:

  • 91 days or more before the expedition: 100% refund, minus the deposit payment and the non-refundable costs that are withheld by our travel partners.
  • 90 days or less before the expedition: No refunds will be given.

Refunds will be paid using the same original method of payment.

Credits: Images by Rachel Jones Ross.

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