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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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photography, space, mars, nasa, smartian, hiseas, moon landing, hawaii, User Feature, Instagram,

Simulating Life on Mars on a Hawaiian Volcano with @casey_stedman and @spincrisis

To see more daily life on sMars in Hawaii, follow @casey_stedman and @spincrisis on Instagram, and browse the #HISEAS hashtag.

Forty-five years after first setting foot on the Moon, humanity has set its eyes on Mars. In Hawaii, a team of “sMartians” (simulated Martians) is already practicing for life on a distant planet.

US Air Force Major Casey Stedman (@casey_stedman) is the Mission Commander for HISEAS (Hawaii-Space Exploration and Analog Simulation), an isolated “habitat module” on the volcanic island. “I haven’t seen a tree, smelled the rain, heard a bird, or felt wind on my skin in four months,” he says, describing life on the site chosen for its similarity to Mars.

"You don’t really think about the tactical feedback you get from biting into crisp lettuce and a juicy hamburger, but that’s the one thing that’s lacking here," says Chief Technologist Ross Lockwood (@spincrisis), describing “sMartian” cuisine, which is packed for months of storage. “We’ve basically been subsisting on mush. Flavorful mush, but mush nonetheless. That’s actually one of my favorite parts of Instagram during the mission: all those pictures of food are helping me get through.”

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Architecture, landscape, portrait, local lens, singapore, user feature, photography, instagram,

Local Lens: Venturing off the Beaten Path in Singapore with @m_herwin

In this series, local Instagrammers show you their favorite places to shoot around where they live. To find refuge from Singapore’s busy city life, follow @m_herwin on Instagram.

"There is more to Singapore than those big, tall buildings that you see in travel pamphlets," says local Instagrammer Herwin van Johari (@m_herwin), who seeks out the quiet sanctuaries nestled in one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

For visiting nature enthusiasts, Herwin suggests a visit to the Southern Ridges, a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) trail that connects five of the city’s public parks. “The trail offers many vantage points that give you an amazing view of the city from some of the highest points in Singapore.” Other lush, photogenic escapes favored by Herwin include the Singapore Botanic Garden and MacRitchie Reservoir.

"If you are adventurous enough to explore further from the main island," says Herwin, "take a short boat trip to Pulau Ubin. Singapore is preserved in its rustic form here, and it’s a complete break away from the modern city.”

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photography, animals, landscape, scotland, highland cow, murn cameron, farm, User Feature, Instagram,

Face to Face with Scotland’s Shaggy Highland Cows

For more photos and videos of Scotland’s shaggy cattle, follow @murn_eilidh_kate and browse the #highlandcow and #highlandcoo hashtags.

Long-horned and remarkably shaggy cattle graze throughout the rolling hills of the Scottish countryside, capturing the hearts of visiting and local Instagrammers alike. Officially called the Highland cow, the breed is also known by its name in the Scots language, kyloe, and by the affectionate name of Highland “coo” for its pronunciation in the Scottish accent.

The cows are more than just a shaggy coat with horns for 17-year-old Scotland Instagrammer Murn Cameron (@murn_eilidh_kate), who works with her family on the Dunach Estate farm near Oban. “The cattle are really inquisitive and curious about humans, and they want to interact with us,” she explains. “They all have different personalities a bit like humans. The calves are very cheeky—and adorable.”

Murn takes her phone with her into the fields, capturing the cattle in all their different colors. “I have a soft spot for the red ones myself,” she says. “People joke and say it is because of the similar hair color as I am ginger, and I must say they may have a point!”

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art, illustration, mexico, dance, teen, latin america, User Feature, Instagram,

Drawing on Emotion with @literaluis

For more of Luis’s sketches, follow @literaluis on Instagram.

"I’ve been doodling since I can remember. At times, it even becomes a totally unconscious act. No blank sheet of paper is safe with me as long as there’s a pen or pencil around,” says 17-year-old Mexico sketch artist and dancer Luis Ruiz (@literaluis). Luis characterizes his style as cartoon-like and says he never intends for his characters to really resemble the subject. “The relevance I see in them doesn’t lie in who they are, but what they would say if they were able to speak,” he explains.

Luis finds creative inspiration from listening to others. “My favorite things to sketch are portraits because of how much they reveal about a being or a person: a nostalgic gaze, lips sealed as if they had something important to say, even the way hair is styled. The possibilities are endless.” Relating to his subjects is also a part of Luis’s creative process. He explains, “I enjoy seeing the contrast between my characters’ portraits and my own. By standing next to them, I am reminded that they are a part of me and that their feelings were once my own. Nowadays everyone is eager to share their own story, however only a few are keen to listen. Listening to someone else makes you realize how human we all truly are and how our emotions aren’t as alienated as we may portray them.”

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design, art, sneakers, sneaker art, nike, reebok, puma sneakers, new balance, User Feature, Instagram,

The Sneaker Creatures of @hazzyboom

To see more of Hazzy Lin’s sneaker art creations, follow @hazzyboom on Instagram

Graphic designer Hazzy Lin (@hazzyboom) is a self-described “sneaker head.” Living in Taipei, Hazzy combines his love for street wear with his talent for illustration to create some of the most imaginative collections of sneaker art on Instagram.

His first sketch of a mutant shoe-creature was a monster inspired by a pair of Nike Air SB Jordans. The response from his followers encouraged him to continue experimenting, leading to more elaborate designs like his Reebok Pump with the face of an attacking dog, the fins of a shark and the body of a high-top.

Hazzy’s success for creating fantastical sneaker transformations has led him to start his own graphic design operation. When he needs a bit of inspiration, Hazzy scrolls through all his favorite Instagram sneaker accounts and keeps an eye on the #sneakerart hashtag.

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Berlin, photography, User Feature, hashtag highlight, pink pipes, Instagram, Architecture, infrastructure,

Understanding Berlin’s Pink Pipes with @Berlinstagram

To view more photos and videos of the pink pipes in Berlin, browse the #thatpipeagain hashtag and follow @berlinstagram on Instagram

Berlin is one big swamp—or at least it used to be. Distinctive pink pipes twist through the city to the nearest river or canal. As groundwater levels are very high, this prevents the city from submerging into a giant puddle.

The pipes are designed to withstand shrinkage or breakage in extreme temperatures, and the distinct pink color is the result of a study which found this color is preferred by both youth and older generations who are young at heart. Berlin Instagrammer Michael Schulz (@berlinstagram) created the #thatpipeagain hashtag to capture them. “The pink pipes are quite iconic for Berlin,” he says. “When I first visited the city 20 years ago and came across them, I was fascinated and irritated at once—and those pipes stuck to my mind as a characteristic thing of the city.” Now, people all over Berlin use the hashtag to spark conversation about the pink pipes and capture them from different angles throughout the city.

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photography, news, colorado, photojournalism, animals, User Feature, instagram, matt slaby, salman rushdie, luceo,

Signposts of Culture on an Unconventional Road with @mattslaby

To see more from photojournalist Matt Slaby’s test kitchen of photographic experiments, follow @mattslaby on Instagram.

Matt Slaby (@mattslaby) is a 6-foot-7 colorblind photographer based in Denver who was once told by Salman Rushdie that he was “too tall.” His Instagram photos are populated by spacemen, abandoned nuclear missile silos and fictional stories written for found snapshots.

"The signposts of culture are really set by the outliers and the weirdos," Matt says. He describes Instagram as his "test kitchen" for experimenting, receiving feedback and understanding “how subjects view their own world and what items they are tuned into."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Matt traveled an “unconventional road into the creative world,” working his way through university and law school as a wilderness firefighter and an metropolitan EMT before taking on photography full time—just a month after passing his law exams.

"I love how things take on apparent order when you view them from a macro or micro perspective," he says. "It’s the middle distance that’s confusing, chaotic and kinda absurd."

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photography, fashion, design, art, Paris, tim walker, sofia coppola, Margot Breby, User Feature, Instagram,

Overcoming Shyness with Margot Breby

To see more of Margot’s whimsical photos and videos, follow @margotbreby on Instagram.

For Paris Instagrammer Margot Breby (@margotbreby), her style was always a way out of her shell. “I am very shy, and fashion is a good way to express myself,” she says. “Growing up, I wanted to become a stylist and I drew outfits I dreamed of wearing.”

Margot’s serene, light-soaked Instagram photos have also helped with her shyness. “It brought wonderful people into my life,” she says. “People who became true friends. I never imagined that when I began a year ago.”

Margot’s inspiration comes from eclectic sources, many of whom share her whimsical outlook. “I really love Sofia Coppola’s and Wes Anderson’s movies and Tim Walker’s photography,” she says. “I am also very inspired by other Instagrammers.”

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photography, black and white, shadow, documentary, tehran, User Feature, Instagram,

Finding the Drama of Light and Shadow in Tehran with @f64s125

For more of Ako’s street images from Tehran, follow @f64s125 on Instagram.

In the nooks and crannies of Tehran’s streets, photojournalist Ako Salemi (@f64s125) finds the moments when light, shadow, environment and people all come together in exquisite balance. “Sometimes I shoot just from the hip,” says Ako, “and sometimes I wait for ‘the decisive moment’ when the action, the light and all other elements make the right composition.”

Ako’s passion for black and white images began at an early age when he discovered a love for the classic films of Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, and Ingmar Bergman. He even graduated with a degree in drama hoping to be a filmmaker. But it was his shy demeanor and introverted character that led him to realize that he is better suited to what he calls “an art that can be made in solitude.”

Ako began expressing his visual ideas through photography and for the past two years has turned to Instagram to share his vision of street life in Tehran. “It’s as if I am having a non-judgmental dialogue with each of these Instagram friends that could not be expressed in words. I’m showing a piece of my city’s life and a piece of me.”

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photography, cameras, vintage, Instagram, User Feature, hashtag highlight, medium format,

Looking through #viewfindersofthepast with @littlecoal

For more perspective-bending photos from vintage camera owners around the world, browse the #viewfindersofthepast hashtag. To see more of Eric’s life in Ohio through the lens of his Bosley, follow @littlecoal on Instagram.

When Ohio schoolteacher and Instagrammer Eric Ward (@littlecoal) received an old film camera that had belonged to his wife’s grandfather, the connection was instantaneous. “I immediately fell in love with the glass and the unique feel you get looking down through a viewfinder of that age,” he says. “I imagined all that he had seen through the same viewfinder and wanted to find a way to continue what he had started.”

Eric continues that story on Instagram with his camera, a Bolsey Model C Twin Lens Reflex from the 1950s with a top-down viewfinder. By taking a photo from above with his phone, Eric discovered he could capture two subjects at once: the camera itself and what the camera “sees” through its lens. “For me, it connected the camera’s past with today’s reality,” he says.

He started the #viewfindersofthepast hashtag to keep track of the photos he was taking, and over time it took off in the community. “Others have started to add photos from a variety of other film cameras,” he says, “which I think is perfect!”