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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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twoi, the week on instagram, instagram news,

The Week on Instagram | 119

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local lens, User Feature, Japan,

Local Lens: Finding Peace in Tokyo with @hirozzzz

In this series, local Instagrammers show you their favorite places to shoot around where they live. To explore more of Tokyo, follow @hirozzzz on Instagram.

Tokyo Instagrammer Hiroaki Fukuda (@hirozzzz) is one of the many who have fallen in love with the dense crowds that populate the Tokyo cityscape. From the industrial areas of the Tokyo Bay to Tokyo Tower standing in the heart of the city, Tokyo’s dynamic scenery is one-of-a-kind. For Hiroaki, the beautiful constructions found all over the city fuel his creativity on Instagram.

Hiroaki likes to capture places like the tranquil Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and the scenic route of the Yurikamome train line that rides along the Tokyo bay. “I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of what Tokyo would feel like if it was emptier,” he says. “Whether it is an empty train, a passageway, an empty bench in a park or a street in a busy district, I feel like I’m always striving to create a sense of calm in what I know to be one of the most densely populated regions in the world.”

Other locations Hiroaki enjoys shooting are the narrow alleys found in the vibrant districts of Shibuya and Shinjuku, the architecture in Omotesando and Ginza and the chaos of the Tsukiji Fish Market. Even among the hustle and bustle of these places, Hiroaki finds and captures a moment of peace.

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hashtag highlight, muttmuggin, dogs,

The Art of #muttmuggin with @muttadventures

For more photos of mutts in mugs, browse the #muttmuggin hashtag and follow @muttadventures on Instagram.

"Over the last couple of years I have fallen in love with the creative, unique and supportive community on Instagram," says Emily McCracken (@muttadventures), who shares whimsical portraits of her three rescued pups: Gertie the bull terrier, Boston the Dane mix and George the mutt. “It has allowed me to connect with people around the globe.”

Several months ago, Sarah posted a photo of George that would spark a new trend: #muttmuggin. “I was originally inspired when a friend showed me #babymugging photos by the ever talented @mommyshorts,” explains Emily. “The pictures were hilarious and adorable, so naturally I put George (my ‘fur-kid’) inside a mug.”

Since then, hundreds of other canines and their human accomplices have joined in. Interested in giving #muttmuggin a shot? Emily offers these tips:

  • "Every dog photographer needs to have three things on hand: a full bag of smelly treats, a nice squeaky toy and a tennis ball (or two). If you make it a fun experience for your pup, she or he will enjoy all the #muttmuggin that you can offer!
  • "For me #muttmuggin is all about the pup. Focus in on him or her and try to capture a funny angle, maybe a sideways mug or give a ‘bottoms up’ shot a try. Have fun with it!
  • "Try capturing the picture from the dog’s point of view, get down to their level, or set them up on a sofa or bed."

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weekend hashtag project, WHPfromwhereiwalk,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPfromwhereiwalk

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes & hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

The goal this weekend is to take a creative video looking down as you walk. Some tips to get you started:

  • Hold your phone steady and level to the ground as you walk to avoid shake. If you’re filming with the Instagram camera, make sure Cinema Mode is on for a super stable video.
  • Even though you have a fixed perspective, the setting brings your video to life. For example, bare feet walking through a field tell a very different story than high heels walking down a busy city sidewalk.
  • Keep your ears open as you shoot! Whether it’s traffic rushing past, voices in the background or the sound of the ocean, the sounds around you add context to your film.

PROJECT RULES: Please only add the #WHPfromwhereiwalk hashtag to videos taken over this weekend and only submit your own videos to the project. Any image taken then tagged over the weekend is eligible to be featured right here Monday morning!

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behind the instameet, Guatemala, instameet,

Behind the InstaMeet: @jpanleu, Guatemala City

In this series, we hear from the Instagrammers organizing InstaMeets in different parts of the world. To view more photos and videos from the first major InstaMeet in Guatemala, browse the #InstaMeetGT hashtag and follow @jpanleu on Instagram.

For Guatemala Instagrammer José Pablo Anleu (@jpanleu), the people he follows on Instagram are a constant source of inspiration, helping him to develop his own eye as a photographer and expand his worldview. Inspired by the communities around the world he saw gather for InstaMeets, José decided to gather Guatemala Instagrammers together and kickstart an Instagram community just in time for the eighth Worldwide InstaMeet.

Inspiration

"I stumbled upon fellow Guatemalan Instagrammer Carlos Castañeda (@monodelespacio), met him in person and found a great friend to go and shoot with. We started going out and taking shots and had so much fun in the process that we wanted to replicate this in a bigger scale. Back then Instagram was barely being adopted around here, so we started putting together a bigger group with our friends, and it all started from there—the desire to nurture a creative community—because what makes Instagram beautiful is the human factor. That’s what draws me to Instameets, the people, many of whom I call friends now.

"Our Instameets are also our way to showcase Guatemala to the world—its people, sights and warmth. It’s our way of putting Guatemala on the map for the world to see and appreciate as much as we do."

Organization

"For our big meetup, we wanted to bring people to a historic place. Thanks to the support from local authorities, we decided upon Edificio de Correos, The National Postal Service central, which is a historic place and national landmark as the perfect place to explore.

"Before this meet, we had a small test run, exploring El Barretal, a coffee farm and ecotourism site, with a small group of friends using #chasingwaterfallsIM just in time for the #WWIM8. We had so much fun that we knew we had to take this experience to the next level.

"Then came our Edificio de Correos meet. To have access to such a beautiful building was unprecedented. The meet went exceptionally well. Being that it was the first big InstaMeet, we were nervous about the attendance—we honestly expected around 30 people, and to our surprise, over 140 Guatemalan Instagrammers joined us that day! To meet the faces behind the usernames was the best part, to share in person, laugh and go crazy together. Instagrammers as young as 13 years old to professionals of every field, we all shared an afternoon of good talks and awesome ‘grams."

Reflection

After his first two events, José Pablo has a few pieces of advice to share with those planning InstaMeets of their own:

  • Plan ahead and keep creativity in mind: “Planning ahead of time and getting all permits if they are necessary is definitely needed. That will guarantee a smooth experience without any setbacks. Getting support from local authorities to have access to otherwise out-of-boundaries locations will get people excited to go somewhere few have gone and get great images. That provided, spontaneity will take over. Just make sure the locations have enough visual richness to frame the creativity of a group of visually hungry Instagrammers!”
  • Have the community spread the word: “The best way to spread the word about an InstaMeet is through the people! InstaMeets are for the Instagram community and by the Instagram community so reach out to your local Instagram family to help spread the word! Word of mouth is powerful.
  • Put people first: “Something I learned from this meet is that community is first on Instagram. The pictures are beautiful evidence to the good times shared with like-minded individuals.

José Pablo also made a short film documenting the first Guatemala InstaMeet. See it below and check out our InstaMeet Documentaries channel on Vimeo for films from other InstaMeets around the world.

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Nelson Mandela, artthursday, art,

Exploring the Nelson Mandela Statue in Pretoria

To see more photos and videos of the new Nelson Mandela statue, explore the Union Buildings location page.

In Pretoria, South Africa, a statue of the former president Nelson Mandela stands out across the skyline. The statue was unveiled on South Africa’s Day of Reconciliation, a public holiday which marks the end of racial conflict in South Africa, shortly after Mandela passed away at the age of 95.

Standing nine meters (30 feet) tall in front of the Union Buildings at the government headquarters, the bronze statue shows Mandela’s hands outstretched to show how he embraced the whole nation. Sculptors Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren also hid a bronze rabbit in Mandela’s ear, symbolizing the haste with which they took to finish the statue.

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Location Feature, Japan, meoto iwa, wedded rocks, 夫婦岩, landscape, shinto,

The Romance of Meoto Iwa (夫婦岩), the Wedded Rocks

For more photos and videos from the wedded rocks, explore the 夫婦岩 / The Wedded Rocks location page.

Off the coast of Futami in Japan’s Mie prefecture, two large rocks jutting from the sea are tied in eternal embrace. Known as meoto iwa (夫婦岩), the “wedded rocks” comprise a shinto site symbolizing the union of Izanagi and Izanami, the divine couple that gave birth to the Japanese islands and the kami (spirits) that inhabit them. The rice-straw ceremonial rope, or shimenawa (注連縄), that binds the rocks weighs over a ton and must be replaced multiple times a year as it deteriorates in the wet sea air.

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hashtag highlight, user feature, Japan,

Joining “The Wall Club” (#ザ壁部) with @ka_nai

To see more photos from “The Wall Club,” browse the #ザ壁部 hashtag and follow @ka_nai on Instagram.

"One of my followers once told me that all the photos I take on Instagram are of walls, so I decided to create a hashtag for it." This is how Tokyo Instagrammer Hisayuki Kanai (@ka_nai) came up with the idea for a unique hashtag to chronicle his wall photos: #ザ壁部, literally meaning “The Wall Club” in Japanese (the English equivalent of the hashtag is #straightfacades). Until very recently, the hashtag project became the center of his life as he searched for good walls to shoot whenever he went out.

"For me, taking wall photos is not meant to be ‘photography.’ I capture walls because it is something I can find anywhere to design a square frame in interesting ways," explains Hisayuki. "The trick to shooting wall photos is to just shoot straight!" he adds. "It takes a lot of patience aligning the camera in perfect parallel with the wall."

Hisayuki’s work quickly caught the imagination of other community members and the hashtag is now widely used by many Instagrammers across the world. “I’ve actually been thanked by other strange people like me who like to take photos of walls but didn’t know what to make of it,” he says.

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current events, venezuela,

Inside the Demonstrations in Venezuela

To view more photos and videos from the protests in Venezuela, visit the Chacaíto and Plaza Luis Brión location pages or browse the #SOSVenezuela hashtag on Instagram.

On Tuesday, tens of thousands of demonstrators came together in Caracas, Venezuela’s Plaza Luis Brión to voice discontent with the government over crime, the economy and pressures on free speech.

This protest is the latest in a series of demonstrations over the past several weeks, many of which have resulted in violence between protestors and the police. Opposition leader Leopoldo López, the former mayor of Caracas who the government has charged with stoking the violence, made a speech before the crowds in the plaza before turning himself in to the police.

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howishoot, tips, user feature, england,

How I Shoot: Capturing Fog in England’s Countryside

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about the set-up and process behind their photos and videos. This week, Luke Cotton (@takemeonacruise) shares how he captures and edits foggy scenes from the English countryside.

Buckinghamshire, England, Instagrammer Luke Cotton (@takemeonacruise) doesn’t have to search hard for the beautiful foggy scenes he shares on Instagram. “I live in the English countryside and work as an agronomist, so I’m always outdoors in fields,” Luke says.

Capturing foggy landscapes is an art form, and Luke provided these tips for shooting and editing in foggy conditions:

Camera

"I always have my iPhone with me but just recently bought a Fuji x100s to make the most of low light situations.”

Vantage Point

"Trees dominate the landscape where I live, so that’s why I have so many in my feed. I find myself constantly scouting out new solo trees or perspectives. I like vanishing points so try to make the most of what lanes, tracks, fences or hedges can add in terms of leading lines in a photo. I sometimes use a tripod and a timer to add myself to shots—anything to add interest really."

Shooting

"I try to shoot at golden hour or in fog as it adds drama to the landscape. I follow the weather forecast very regularly looking for signs of mist or fog hopefully combined with some sun. I also track the time of sunrise and sunset. The light at dawn is my favorite, but you need to be up early to make the most of it. It can be frustrating if the conditions aren’t what you expected, but that makes it all the better when you get good shots. There are some lakes near where I live that attract fog so I often head there.”

For photo taking, “I tend to use the Camera+ (iOS) app as the stabilizer function gives a crisp photo.”

Editing

"I more often than not edit in VSCO (iOS and Android), but sometimes the filters are too much for the subtle light at dawn, so then I might just tweak the photo a little in Afterlight (iOS). I try and crop to the rule of thirds but sometimes just go with feel.”