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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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ASP, WCT, current events, tips,

Tips from the ASP: Taking the Perfect Surf Action Shot

For more photos and videos from the Samsung Galaxy 2014 ASP World Championship Tour, explore the Snapper Rocks Beach location page and follow surfers Kelly Slater (@kellyslater), Carissa Moore (@rissmoore10), Mick Fanning (@mfanno), Stephanie Gilmore (@stephaniegilmore), Gabriel Medina (@gabrielmedinaaa) and Courtney Conlogue (@courtneyconlogue).

The Association of Surfing Professionals (@asp) kicks off its 2014 World Championship Tour today in Australia’s Gold Coast. The world’s best male and female surfers will take to the water to compete for the highest scores from judges considering level of difficulty, innovation, variety, speed, power and flow.

Whether you’re attending the Quiksilver and Roxy Pros or simply getting a surf session in with friends, keep these tips from ASP photographers Kirstin Scholtz (@kirstinscholtz) and Kelly Cestari (@kc80) in mind:

  • Nothing will end a water session quicker than a leak. Protect your water housing from any possible damage.
  • You will never win a fight against the ocean, but the more time you spend shooting in the water the higher your success rate will be and your confidence will grow with each session.
  • Communicate with the surfer about the type of image you have in mind and it will come a lot easier. Build a good working relationship with them, so they trust you not to ruin their wave and you trust them not to injure you.
  • Early morning and late afternoon are often the most magical times to shoot surfing. There is nothing more beautiful than a surfer silhouetted against a glowing backlit wave or wave painted with purples and pinks reflecting the colors of sunset.
  • Keep looking for new angles. Shooting from behind the wave can make the face look steeper and the wave bigger. Shooting from above makes it look smaller and flatter.

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MLB, spring training, current events,

MLB Spring Training on Instagram

Browse the #springtraining hashtag for more photos and videos from Spring Training.

Spring training is here! Starting every February, Major League Baseball (@mlb) runs a six-week series of practices and exhibition games as a warm-up for the regular season. New players use spring training to try out for a roster and established players get game-like practice in before serious competition begins.

Crowds flock to the games in Arizona (Cactus League) and Florida (Grapefruit League) to bask in warm weather and get a first look at their favorite teams. Can’t make it this year? Be sure to follow your favorite teams on Instagram:

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sochi2014, olympics, current events,

Looking Back at the Winter Olympics on Instagram

To view more photos and videos from the Sochi 2014 Closing Ceremony explore the Fisht Olympic Stadium location page and browse the #ClosingCeremony hashtag on Instagram.

On Sunday, the 2014 Winter Olympics officially came to a close. Over the past two weeks athletes from 88 different countries competed in Sochi, Russia, before thousands of fans. Spectators and athletes alike captured some of Sochi 2014’s finest moments, from The Opening Ceremony to life in the Olympic village and from the events themselves to, finally, the Closing Ceremony. The Closing Ceremony celebrated Russia’s rich artistic heritage, with references to Kandinsky and Chagall, music by Rachmaninoff, Rubinstein, and Vladimir Horowitz, as well as Ballet from the Bolshoi. As the games came to an end, Sochi officially passed the torch to South Korea for 2018.

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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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current events, WKCdogshow, dogs,

Instagramming the 138th Westminster Dog Show

To see more photos from the Westminster Kennel Club’s 138th Annual Dog Show, follow @westminsterkennelclub on Instagram, browse the #wkcdogshow hashtag and explore the Madison Square Garden and Piers 92/94 location pages.

Canine lovers and connoisseurs from around the globe have descended upon New York City for the Westminster Kennel Club’s (@westminsterkennelclub) 138th Annual Dog Show. The two-day event kicked off on Monday at Piers 92 and 94 in Midtown Manhattan and at Madison Square Garden. This year, 2,845 dogs from 190 breeds and varieties are competing for the coveted “Best in Show” title.

For the first time, the Kennel Club opened its competitions to mixed-breed dogs with the Masters Agility Championship, which took place on Sunday. This year also saw three new additions to the list of approved WKC breeds: the rat terrier, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno and the Chinook.

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sochi2014, sochi, sochi olympics, winter olympics, current events, Location Feature,

Sochi: Building a City for the Olympics

To view more photos and videos from Sochi, browse the #Sochi2014 hashtag, explore the Сочи / Sochi, Sochi, Морской Порт / Sochi seaport, Олимпийский парк / Sochi Olympic Park and Горнолыжный Центр - Роза Хутор | Rosa Khutor - Alpine Center location pages on Instagram

"Two years ago, I came here and I remember these small, old two-story houses and this tiny airport," recalls Russian Instagrammer Julia Mikhaleva (@myatna). “As I was flying into Sochi for the Winter Olympics, I looked out of the window and all I could see were lights upon lights coming from this big city.”

Julia is one of many Russians who have been amazed (“and pleasantly surprised,” she adds) by the rapid transformation of Sochi to prepare the city for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Sitting on Russia’s southernmost coast looking out onto the Black Sea, the resort town was a popular holiday destination for its warmer climate and proximity to alpine ski slopes. A train line now connects brand new venues at the “coastal cluster” and “mountain cluster” for the 2014 Olympic events.

The successful bid to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi also led to the construction of new buildings, a new road infrastructure, an expanded airport and hotels. Sochi’s metamorphosis is also expected to turn the city into a popular ski resort for locals and tourists after the Games.

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current events, chiang mai flower festival, thailand,

Exploring the 2014 Chiang Mai Flower Festival

To see more photos and videos of this year’s flower festival, explore the สวนสาธารณะหนองบวกหาด (Nong Buak Hard Public Park), ประตูท่าแพ (Tha Phae Gate) and สะพานนวรัฐ (Nawarat Bridge) location pages and browse the #flowerfestival and #chiangmaiflowerfestival hashtags.

The 2014 Chiang Mai Flower Festival started yesterday in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Often referred to as the “Rose of the North” by Thai locals, the city of Chiang Mai is home to a wide range of rare and exotic flowers. The flower festival is held annually on the first weekend of February, which is the best season to see these flowers in full bloom.

During the flower festival, Buak Hard Park, located on the southeast corner of Chiang Mai’s moat, turns into a theme park full of flowers. Magnificent floral displays are arranged throughout its garden and numerous pop-up shops line up to sell local flowers and plants. The highlight of the event is the Flower Festival Parade held on Saturday. Traditional Thai dancers and elaborately decorated floral floats work their way from Nawarat Bridge to Buak Hard Park, handing out flowers to spectators. The floats also carry contestants of the Miss Chiang Mai Flower Festival beauty pageant, another much anticipated event of the three-day festival.

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sochi2014, olympics, current events,

The Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony on Instagram

To view more photos and videos from the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony, explore the Олимпийский Стадион «Фишт» / Fisht Olympic Stadium location page, browse the #Sochi2014 hashtag and follow @olympics on Instagram.

The Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics (@olympics) took place on Friday to officially open the Games in Russia.

The ceremony presented a history of Russia seen through the eyes of a young girl named Lubov, or ‘Love,’ opening with a journey through the unique Russian alphabet Azbuka.

To get a first-hand look at the atmosphere at the Opening Ceremony, follow these Russian Instagrammers who were in attendance and shared their experience on Instagram:

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olympics, sochi2014, road to sochi, current events, user feature,

Sochi 2014: Who to Follow on Instagram

For more photos and videos from the 2014 Winter Olympics, explore the Олимпийский Стадион «Фишт» / Fisht Olympic Stadium (Opening and Closing Ceremonies), Ледовая Арена Шайба / Arena Shayba, Ледовый дворец “Большой” / Ice Dome “Bolshoi”, Дворец зимнего спорта «Айсберг» / Iceberg Skating Palace, and Комплекс трамплинов «Русские Горки» / “RusSki Gorki” Jumping Center location pages.

If you can’t make it to the 2014 Winter Olympics (@olympics) this week, don’t worry. Athletes, teams, spectators and the Olympic organization themselves will be sharing photos from the 2014 Sochi Games (@sochi2014) on Instagram.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games will take place from February 7-23 and many of the athletes, coaches, family members and officials are making their way to Sochi now. Be sure to follow these Instagrammers for a behind-the-scenes look at the Winter Olympics:

Athletes

  • Mikeala Shriffrin, United States alpine ski racer – @mikaelashiffrin
  • Bode Miller, United States alpine ski racer – @millerbode
  • Ted Ligety, United States alpine ski racer – @ted_ligety
  • Patrick Meek, United States speed skater – @patjmeek
  • Sarah Hendrickson, United States women’s ski jumper – @schendrickson
  • Taylor Gold, United States snowboarder – @taylor_gold
  • Richard Shoebridge, Great Britain speed skater – @rshoei
  • Penny Coomes, Great Britain figure skater – @pennycoomes
  • Marusa Ferk, Slovenia women’s alpine skiing – @marusaferk
  • Callum Watson, Australia men’s skier – @callumwxc
  • Tarjei Boe, Norway biathlete – @tarjei_boe
  • Spencer O’Brien, Canada snowboarder – @spencerobrien
  • Elena Radionova, Russia figure skater – @lenok_radionova
  • Sofya Prosvirnova, Russia short track – @sofya_p

Teams

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southbank skatepark, current events, Location Feature, london, south bank,

Saving Southbank Skatepark with @rich__

To view more photos and videos from Southbank skatepark, explore the Southbank Skate Park location page.

Strolling tourists along London’s Southbank next to the River Thames might at first miss the graffitied walls of the undercroft skatepark. The skatepark is home to skateboarders, graffiti artists and freestyle cyclists. Local Instagrammers also visit to shoot street art and take advantage of the park’s scenic vantage point of the London Eye and skyline.

"The main railing is a great place to stand and snap away," says Rich Pearce (@rich__) who often visits the location to shoot. “The far ends are where the jumps and wipeouts happen, but great shots can be taken from the inside as the light comes through in various places.”

Development plans have put the existing skatepark at risk, but Southbank Centre promises another skatepark just 120 meters (394 feet) away from the current site as part of the new plans. Still, protests to preserve the current skatepark, led by the group Long Live Southbank (@savesouthbank), have gained high-profile support from artist Damien Hirst, singer Rita Ora (@ritaora) and boxer Mike Tyson (@miketyson).