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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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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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landscape, history, nyc, tugboat, staten island, Instagram, Location Feature,

Capturing a Hauntingly Beautiful Tugboat Graveyard

For more photos and videos from the Tugboat Graveyard, explore the Tugboat Graveyard - Staten Island location page.

The scuttled remains of tugboats, ferries and other maritime vessels rest peacefully in shallow water off the shores of Staten Island in New York City.

The rusting hulks, decrepit frames, creaks and bumps in the Witte Marine Equipment Company scrap yard, known as the “Tugboat Graveyard,” contribute to a hauntingly beautiful industrial landscape hidden in plain sight.

Instagrammers looking to make an off-the-beaten-path field trip just outside of the city center can capture eerie photos of light filtering through decaying structures, jagged reflections and the occasional geese and other wildlife picking their way along the murky shore.

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location feature, seljalandsfoss, iceland, waterfall, landscape, Instagram,

Going Behind the Water at Iceland’s Seljalandsfoss

For more photos and videos from the falls, explore the Seljalandsfoss location page.

In the south of Iceland near the western base of the glacier Eyjafjallajökull, the Seljalandsá river spills over a 60-meter (197-foot) cliffside to a placid pool below.

The waterfall, Seljalandsfoss, stands as one of Iceland’s most photogenic natural attractions. The jutting angle of the cliff allows visitors to explore behind the veil of water, revealing a waterfall that can be captured from nearly every angle. Whether camping at the falls’ base in summer or braving thick ice and snow during the winter, the sight of the falls throughout Iceland’s dramatic seasons has proven a longtime attraction for local and visiting Instagrammers alike.

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landscape, news, politics, user feature, photojournalism, Charles Ommanney, Instagram,

Documenting the US-Mexico Border with Charles Ommanney

To see more photos from Charles’s work in Mexico and across the world, follow @charlesommanney on Instagram.

A desire to better understand the immigration debate brought photographer Charles Ommanney (@charlesommanney) to the United States’ border with Mexico.

"I flew from my home in Miami to Houston, Texas, where I bought an old Land Rover," says Charles, who then spent the next three weeks traveling 3,000 miles along the border. His journey, and the stories he heard along the way, left a powerful impression. "Many of the people found by the Border Patrol in southern Texas are arriving after traveling for weeks across difficult terrain, having given everything they have to the ‘coyotes’ that promised them a better life in the U.S. I found the spectacle of people realizing that the journey was over for them very depressing."

Through his photos and through The Fence, a forthcoming three-part documentary for MSNBC (@msnbcphoto), Charles hopes people “will see the facts and be able to make up their own minds about the complexities of this subject.”

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art, landscape, Tara Donovan, Pace Gallery, instagram, art thursday,

Tara Donovan Mimics Nature with the Mundane

To see more of Donovan’s work, explore the Pace Gallery location page and browse the #TaraDonovan hashtag.

The American artist Tara Donovan’s latest exhibition—on display through August 15 at Pace Gallery (@pacegallery) in New York City—consists of eight massive stalagmites constructed entirely from millions of glued-together index cards.

Donovan, whose critically-acclaimed work earned her the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2008, challenges perceived distinctions between natural and artificial. By building large, organically shaped structures with everyday manmade materials like drinking straws, toothpicks and styrofoam cups, she forces viewers to reconsider the difference between the majestic and the mundane.

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nature, new zealand, Location Feature, Instagram, landscape, waiotapu,

Exploring New Zealand’s Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland

To see more photos and videos from the reserve, browse the #waiotapu hashtag and explore the Waiotapu Thermal Springs Wonderland location page.

On New Zealand’s North Island, an active geothermic reserve houses hot springs of multiple colors and extraordinary volcanic formations. The reserve’s name, Wai-O-Tapu, or “sacred waters,” comes from the indigenous Māori language and alludes to the area’s unique geologic offerings. Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is a tourist center within the reserve that provides visitors with a taste of the distinctive geologic attractions. Some of the popular landmarks include colorful pools of water created from mixtures of minerals and bubbling carbon dioxide, erupting mud pools and a geyser that shoots out boiling water every morning. The conservation area was formerly the largest mud volcano in the country until its crown eroded in the early 90s, leaving the steaming springs and fizzling silts that continue to attract local and visiting Instagrammers alike.

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food, education, landscape, user feature, Uganda, coffee, travel, instagram,

Scenes from Small-Town Uganda with @sarahgenelle

For a look at everyday life on a coffee farm in Western Uganda, follow @sarahgenelle.

Living and working on a coffee farm nestled in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda is just the latest stop in the nomadic life of Sarah Castagnola (@sarahgenelle).

Sarah’s parents taught at international schools, which meant relocating the family to a different country every few years. “When I moved to Oregon for university I was exited to put down roots,” she explains. “However, it was only a matter of time before I yearned to travel again.”

Sarah’s studies and work in micro-finance have taken her across the globe, and, in April of 2013, she accepted a Peace Corps assignment in the small Ugandan village of Kyarumba. Living and working in Uganda often means it’s easier to share a photo on Instagram than it is to find running water or electricity. “This is the paradox of living in a developing country,” Sarah says. “Cellphones are ubiquitous, however women and children spend hours each day fetching water.”

Sarah, who plans to continue traveling after the Peace Corps, hopes her photos educate and inspire: “Opportunities happen when you take risks and follow your passion.”

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photography, animals, landscape, ranch, Colorado, sheep, lamb, horse, howishoot, Instagram,

How I Shoot: Capturing the Colors and Characters of the American West with @iamstephensmith

For each How I Shoot, we ask an Instagrammer to tell us about their creative process. For more of Stephen’s photos and videos from life on a ranch in the American West, follow @iamstephensmith on Instagram.

For Stephen Smith (@iamstephensmith), documenting life on a ranch in Colorado requires a shift in perspective. “I try to imagine what the world looks like from the height of a baby lamb or way up high on my draft horse, Brutus,” he says. “My work is inspired by the contrast and connection between expansive, humbling spaces and the objects and creatures that inhabit those spaces.”

Here are Stephen’s tips for vividly capturing the colors and characters on a ranch in the American West:

Camera

iPhone 5S

Vantage Point

"At eye-level with the subject to create an intimate connection. If you are shooting an animal, for example, and it is shorter than you, it might be difficult to keep the horizon line in the photo. Drop down a bit, enhance the presence of that shorter creature and keep that horizon line in the frame so that the image has depth."

Shooting

"I try to shoot just after sunrise while we are doing chores or just before dark. The sun in Colorado is very strong and a midday shot can wash out images shot with an iPhone."

Editing

"I use VSCO Cam or Afterlight, and Instagram’s new creative editing tools are convenient. I just tried them out with my latest post.”

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Architecture, landscape, location feature, namibia, Kolmanskop,

Exploring Kolmanskop, a Ghost Town in the Namib Desert

To view more photos and videos from the ghost town in the Namib desert, browse the Kolmanskop location page.

Since its abandonment in 1954, the once-booming mining town of Kolmanskop has gradually succumbed to the sands of the Namib Desert. The small town near the coast of Namibia was built in the style of a German village following the discovery of diamonds in 1908, and at its height Kolmanskop boasted a hospital, casino and theater.

Today, the town’s decayed European architecture stands in stark contrast to its sandy surroundings, making it a picturesque destination for adventurous Instagrammers.