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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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Instagram, photography, rio de janeiro, brazil,

Waiting For the Perfect Shot with @deni_perez

To see more of Denise’s visual storytelling around Brazil, follow @deni_perez on Instagram.

Rio de Janeiro Instagrammer Denise Perez (@deni_perez) provides a glimpse into the vast country of Brazil. As she explains, her love for photography allows her to step into and share worlds that are not her own: “I love photography’s transformative power. It lets you reveal beauty in scenes which are often considered ugly or unworthy of attention.” Her patience allows her to tell many stories through photography, often catching her subjects in movement or with powerful facial expressions.

In one particular case, Denise captured an image of a bird flying past a woman on Rio de Janeiro’s beach, Praia Leme. “Most people see this image and think it’s a photomontage. I’ve heard it all, from the bird being a backpack, a costume or some sort of hair decoration. Some people even call it ‘the photo of the dead bird,’ and others attribute this photograph to pure luck.” For Denise, a good photograph depends on luck and a lot of patience, “I saw the pigeon coming and I waited for a really long time to get the shot as he finally landed in the perfect position.”

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os gemeos, graffiti, Instagram, Art Thursday, art, brazil, street art,

Entering the Colorful Kaleidoscope World of @osgemeos

To see more photos and videos from A ópera da lua, explore the Galpão Fortes Villaça location page and browse the #osgemeos hashtag.

A circular installation pulls spectators into the colorful world of Brazilian twin brothers and graffiti artists Os Gêmeos. Their new art exhibit, A ópera da lua (“The Moon Opera”), features paintings, sculptures and a video installation where works are connected by doors and windows. The artists are known for incorporating storytelling and fantasy into their exhibits, where surreal elements blend together in a multicolored collage as if seen through a kaleidoscope.

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Instagram, Location Feature, sand dunes, brazil, sandboarding, buggy rides,

Going Fast and Furious on Brazil’s Genipabu Sand Dunes

To see more photos and videos from the sand dunes, browse the #dunasdegenipabu hashtag and explore the Dunas de Genipabu location page.

Giant sand dunes attract adventurers from all over the world to the Brazilian beach of Genipabu. Those visiting Genipabu can explore on camelback, sandboard down the slopes to the lagoon below or—most popularly—zigzag through the sands in a thrilling buggy ride.”I’m fascinated by the dunes,” says Romanian Instagrammer Anamaria Pirea (@smochinaverde), a teacher working in Recife. “However varied the landscape is in Romania, we don’t have anything like that back home.”

"As much as I’ve enjoyed the beach for the last 10 months in Brazil, I have to admit that I miss winter sports—and sandboarding is pretty close to snowboarding. I especially enjoyed landing in the lagoon after sliding down the dune. I felt like I was a kid again.”

Anamaria spent four entire days just exploring the sand dunes. “After four days in Natal, I have no idea what the city looks like,” she says. “Most buggy drivers are friendly and flexible and will personalize your tour according to what you’re looking for. My friend and I went for the adventurous kind of driver who drove like crazy all over the dunes even jumping into the lagoon, and also avoided the touristy spots.” She advises fellow visitors to charge their mobile cameras before they make the trip. “The location is perfect for taking photos,” she says, “You can really experiment with optical illusions, especially with the backdrop of a clear blue sky and puffy clouds here and there.”

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Instagram, User Feature, world cup, brazil, soccer, rio de janeiro,

Capturing the Beautiful Game with @culafernandes

For more photos from Ana Carolina, follow @culafernandes on Instagram.

"I was 13 years old the first time I set foot in Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro’s soccer stadium,” Ana Carolina (@culafernandes), a Rio de Janeiro photojournalist, says. “I will never forget the overwhelming magical energy that hit me there. It’s precisely that feeling that has brought me back to the stadium hundreds of times.”

Ana Carolina grew up in a soccer-obsessed home. “I think it would be odd of me not to love soccer,” she says. “My first memory is watching the 1970 World Cup when I was seven. I also remember tagging along to my father’s pick-up games or playing soccer with my brothers in our hallway.” Ana Carolina’s photos featuring a soccer ball and the ocean began with an accident. “I saw a boy playing soccer on the edge of the water and without thinking twice, I put the waterproof cover on my phone and went in the water to shoot,” she says. “The water is never calm on that beach—it’s extremely difficult to take photos and swim at the same time, especially without flippers on. I got hit by a lot of waves, but when I saw the result, I celebrated just as I would a soccer goal.”

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Location Feature, chapada diamantina, brazil, vale do pati,

Hiking into Brazil’s Vale do Pati

For more photos and videos from Vale do Pati, explore the Chapada Diamantina location page and browse the #valedopati hashtag.

Vale do Pati, a remote valley tucked away in Brazil’s Chapada Diamantina National Park, draws visitors from all over the world to view its natural sights. Located about 400 kilometers (248 miles) inland from Salvador, the capital city of Bahia, the park and its valley provide escape from the busy city and an alternative to Bahia’s usual beach getaways. From the many waterfalls and rivers to the abundant tropical vegetation and steep surroundings, Vale do Pati is an explorer’s paradise. As Rio de Janeiro Instagrammer Thássio Ferreira (@thassiof) recalls, “It was spectacular to see a huge wall with water running down it in all sorts of shapes: spirals, small drops and even rainbows.”

As a nature reserve, the valley has an estimated population of fewer than 100 people. Since motorized vehicles are forbidden in the valley, locals growing crops such as mandioca depend on mules for transporting any material resources. Travelers wanting to see the land’s abundant beauty can only reach the valley by foot or by mule, and the trip stretches for roughly 22 km (13.67 miles) under Bahia’s beating sun. Visitors then have the option of camping in the valley or staying with local families in very simple lodging where electricity and hot water are reserved for communal areas. Those staying with local families have been known to enjoy their warm spirit and homegrown food—a perfect ending to days of physical activity.

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User Feature, recife, pop culture, brazil,

Instagramming Pop Culture with @matheusbeltrao

For more photos from Matheus, follow @matheusbeltrao on Instagram.

"I have always been interested in the way cultural references from all over the world can mesh together to form a collage of something unique," explains Brazil Instagrammer Matheus Beltrao (@matheusbeltrao).

Born and raised in the northeastern city of Recife, Matheus currently attends university as a film student. He traces his love for film back to an early passion: “I have always been fascinated by media and pop culture. Growing up I was really drawn to television, especially telenovelas, or Brazilian soap operas. Later, my love for film developed, as I became captivated by the way movies brought together photography and music.”

Now, Matheus brings his love of art and photography to his own photography on Instagram—a step he sees as integral for art to progress as a whole. “I hope that through art I can find other likeminded folks and that together we can change certain aspects of life. I think that Instagram and other social networks can be tools to help us start revolutions.”

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User Feature, ceará, brazil,

Capturing Moments in Rural Brazil with @suckeruser

For more photos and videos from Eduardo, follow @suckeruser on Instagram.

“Once when I was really little, I found my mother’s camera lying around. I grabbed it without her permission and went around taking photographs. When she found out she was pretty angry, especially because film was so expensive at the time. I remember begging her to let me reveal the film, since I was dying to see the photos I’d taken. I think that was the day I fell in love with photography as well as the possibility of capturing moments,” recalls Brazil Instagrammer Eduardo Pedro (@suckeruser).

16-year-old Eduardo is now in his first year of college studying law, though he says his true love is photography. Growing up in a rural part of of the northeastern state of Ceará contributed to his love of photography: “The simplicity and beauty of things here inspires me both in my life and in my photography.” When shooting, he often uses his friends as models. “My friends definitely suffer a bit with me behind the camera. I’m always telling them to jump, run and lie down. I guess they are more guinea pigs than models.”

Eduardo’s passion extends to both analog and mobile photography. He says, “I love shooting on my phone. I think mobile photography has allowed lots of people to develop their eye as photographers, reinforcing that what really matters is the creativity one uses rather than the equipment itself. It’s been wonderful to see photography evolve and people start to recognize its ability to eternalize moments. That is really beautiful.”

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Location Feature, brazil, fernando de noronha, praia do sancho,

Diving into Baía do Sancho

To view more photos and videos from Noronha, explore the Baía do Sancho location page.

Nature lovers from all over the world hike up the cliffs at Baia de Sancho beach, 354 km (220 mi) off the Northern Brazilian coast, for a view of two enormous volcanic rock formations emerging from the water. Known as Dois Irmãos (“two brothers”) because of their almost identical shape and close proximity, the rock formations are one of Brazil’s natural wonders.

Considered by many as Brazil’s most beautiful beach, Baía do Sancho is one step on the island chain of Fernando de Noronha, a World Heritage Site of 21 islands. The island is only accessible by plane or boat from the northern cities of Recife or Natal, and once there visitors must brave a steep, rickety ladder to access the beach. These difficulties don’t faze a steady stream of adventurers, however, who make the trek to snorkel in the crystal waters among turtles, baby sharks and exotic fish.

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carnaval, carnival, brazil, recife, salvador, rio de janeiro,

Carnaval in Brazil

For more photos and videos from Carnaval 2014 in Brazil, explore the Sambódromo and Sambodromo do Anhembi location pages and browse the #Carnaval, #Salvador, #Olinda and #Recife hashtags.

In Brazil, it’s jokingly said that the year only really begins after Carnaval, the annual five-day festival before Ash Wednesday that marks the beginning of Lent. Brazilians take Carnaval seriously: most of the country shuts down to take part in the festivities and some participants begin planning their costumes and events up to a year in advance. The cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Vitória are known for giant parades led by samba schools, which bring in millions of viewers in person and through televised broadcasts. Smaller parades, or blocinhos, are also very popular as anyone can join in the parade as it progresses.

In the northeast, Carnaval is heavily influenced by Afro-Brazilian culture—and especially by its music. Huge crowds follow trucks blasting live music performances from famous Brazilian stars. This year’s singers include Claudia Leitte (@claudialeitte), Ivete Sangalo (@veveta), Gilberto Gil (@gilbertogil), Preta Gil (@pretagil) and Daniela Mercury (@danielamercury).

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Location Feature, rio de janeiro, brazil, hang gliding,

A Bird’s-Eye View: Hang Gliding over Rio de Janeiro

For more photos and videos of hang gliding in São Conrado, explore the Pedra Bonita location page.

Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro is known for its breathtaking views and natural beauty, a combination that makes nearby Praia São Conrado one of the world’s premiere hang gliding spots for tourists and locals alike. Hang gliders experience a bird’s-eye view of iconic landmarks such as Pão de Açúcar and the Cristo Redentor statue on Corcovado mountain. The setting allows hang gliders to savor an adrenaline rush while feasting on Rio’s jaw-dropping skyline. A few daredevils have shared their experience through photos and videos on Instagram.