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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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nature, science, nature photography, joshua white, backyard, insects, butterfly, plants, User Feature, Instagram, Photography,

Rediscovering Backyard Magic with @joshuadwhite

For more photos from Joshua’s A Photographic Survey of the American Backyard, follow @joshuadwhite on Instagram.

“A lot of my work has to do with memory,” explains North Carolina photographer Joshua White (@joshuadwhite). After capturing a photo of a freshly fallen whirligig on a solid-colored trash can, Joshua became intrigued by the way the seedpod’s shape stood out to him. Without the distractions of its busy natural context, it became both a specimen to examine and a work of art to contemplate. “I remembered what it was like to be a kid in the yard, looking at insects and plants,” Joshua says. “It felt like I was discovering nature again.”

Two years later, more than 500 photos now make up the project Joshua has titled A Photographic Survey of the American Backyard. He makes all of his photographs in a structured, repeatable process. As he details, “I photograph mostly on my back porch in the shade. I use sheets of white foam core from the art supply store, and I place the specimens on the end of a sewing or knitting needle to hold them out away from the background so that I can get as close to a shadowless background as possible.” From there, he positions the subjects to be just right, snaps the photograph, converts the photo to black and white and, finally, adds the Earlybird filter.

Joshua’s creative inspiration comes from his own lifelong curiosity. “I look for interesting forms and the unexpected. I will revisit the same subject several times to see how it changes, dissect seeds and flower buds to examine the structures inside and photograph different specimens of the same species over and over to look at the variation—but really it just comes down to interesting shapes, patterns and forms.” As for what comes next in the series, he has a very clear goal: “A box turtle is right at the top of the list. I get the most excited about things that I have specific childhood memories of, and finding a turtle as a kid was the holy grail.”

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User Feature, macro photography, insects, tips,

Bugging Out with @teresa_franco

San Diego, California Instagrammer Teresa Franco (@teresa_franco) isn’t afraid to get up close and personal with insects to fuel her love of macro photography.

Her interest in insects comes from her love of science fiction: “Everything about them, their appearance, behaviors—everything is just so alien.” Her passion has led her to learn a great deal not only about macro photography, but also her subjects as well. “I’ve learned so much about their behaviors and personalities that I can almost predict their next move,” she says.

As for her photography, Teresa takes all of her photos and videos using her phone and a few trusty accessories. She alternates between her SquidCam case and lenses and an Olloclip.

Teresa also has some tips for others who may want to try their hand at macro mobile photography or videography: “Other than having passion for it, macro photography is about three things: knowledge, technique, and patience. You have to know your subjects: their behavior, how to approach them, and when to shoot them. You must shoot without fear. Also, you must have great patience to achieve great shots. I’ve spent a good hour chasing bees and dragonflies—do not surrender and it will yield rewarding results.”