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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, Instagram, Location Feature, landscape, ghost city, russia,

Exploring “Ghost City” (город-призрак) in Seredinkovo, Russia

For more bizarre and beautiful photos from “Ghost City” in Seredinkovo, explore the Город Призрак location page.

Old taverns, abandoned docks and ghost ships are all part of “Ghost City” (город-призрак), a park located in the small town of Seredinkovo in the Russian countryside. The park premises were originally constructed as a Russian movie set in 2010, and were designed to look like an 18th-century European city. Now open to the public, the former film set allows visitors to explore the “city” and dress up in period costumes. With replicas of prisons, gallows, hotels, cemeteries, a fort and more, the park offers opportunities to capture time-worn landscapes for visitors and Instagrammers alike.

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landscape, animals, nature, David Guttenfelder, National Geographic, Yellowstone, hyperlapse, video feature, Instagram,

Hyperlapsing in Yellowstone National Park with @dguttenfelder

To see more of David’s videos and photographs, follow @dguttenfelder and @natgeo on Instagram.

“I’m redefining myself as a photographer in my home country,” says photojournalist David Guttenfelder (@dguttenfelder). Based in Japan and India for the past 15 years, David worked across Asia, from war-torn Afghanistan to reclusive North Korea, where his Instagram feed became an unique window into a secluded world. This year, he returns to the United States as a National Geographic (@natgeo) photography fellow, working on a long-term project about the ecosystem surrounding Yellowstone National Park. National Geographic was given a preview of Instagram’s new Hyperlapse app, and David was one of the first photographers to try it out, recording the bison that he now shares the road with on his daily commute.

“I will spend the next year in America’s Wild West,” he explains, adding: “What could be a more perfect homecoming?”

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landscape, flowers, plants, cactus, echinopsis, succulant, time-lapse, user feature, video feature, instagram,

Immersed in the Vivid World of the Echinopsis with @echinopsisfreak

To see more vivid time-lapse videos of Greg’s diverse echinopsis family, follow @echinopsisfreak on Instagram.

Three years ago, Greg Krehel (@echinopsisfreak) encountered a cactus that would change his life. “I’ve always loved cacti and succulents,” he explains. The sogginess of his hometown Miami, however, always killed his desert-loving plants.

All that changed with a cactus Greg selected at random from a local garden store. Not only did it survive—it thrived. “Moreover, the flowers it produced were knockouts,” he says. “Over six inches in diameter and an incredible mix of colors.”

After some sleuthing, Greg realized he was in the possession of an echinopsis, a genus of cactus that thrives in humidity. Not only that, there were hundreds of other varieties out there. “My single echinopsis acquired by accident was soon joined by 5… 25… 50… and now I’m at 100 other echinopsis species and hybrids.”

"My passion for the cacti themselves soon morphed into a passion for imaging them," says Greg. Echinopsis flowers bloom in a day, and peak for only an hour or two. "Their brief existence pushes you to photograph the heck out of them." Inspired by his videographer son, Greg began using time-lapse to capture his cacti’s blooms and quickly found a community of like-minded people on Instagram. "It’s just a kick sharing my passion for this super type of cactus."

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photography, sports, landscape, travel, rodeo, American west, user feature, Instagram,

Chronicling the Journeys of Traveling Rodeo Voice @stevegoedert

To see more from Steve’s travels to every corner of America, follow @stevegoedert on Instagram.

“I grew up in a rural part of northern California surrounded by cattle ranches,” says traveling rodeo announcer Steve Goedert (@stevegoedert). “I wanted to be a saddle bronc rider, but never was very good.”

While his profession reflects his love for cattle and ranching, Steve didn’t necessarily set out to become a sought-after rodeo announcer. “I spent a lot of time at the local livestock auction yard and decided I wanted to become an auctioneer,” Steve says of his earlier years. “I decided I needed to be a better public speaker to become a better auctioneer.” To improve, he started announcing local rodeos free of charge. People noticed and began offering to pay him.

These days, Steve’s on the road up to 40 weekends out of the year, and his photos and videos on Instagram chronicle his travels to every corner of the United States.

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photography, art, narni, landscape, italy, umbria, Location Feature, instagram, narnia, cs lewis, chronicles of narnia,

A World of Childhood Fantasy in Narni, Italy

For more enchanting photos and videos from Narni, Italy, explore the Narni location page and browse the #Narni hashtag.

There are stunning similarities between the real-life town of Narni and the fictional world of Narnia: blazing green hills, clear blue skies and picturesque stone structures.

In fact, the classic fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia, written by C.S. Lewis in 1950, is rumored to have been inspired by this small Italian town 50 miles north of Rome. According to biographer Walter Hooper, Lewis was fascinated by ancient history, and Narni—named “Narnia” in Roman times—was highlighted by the children’s author in his personal atlas.

Whether Lewis visited Narni has never been confirmed, but even today, its cobblestone streets and castle fortress look like they belong in a magical, medieval novel. And while there are no mythical, talking creatures roaming the land, Narni still feels like a place pulled straight out of our childhood imaginations.

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Photography, Instagram, Location Feature, ossetia, russia, itsbaat, User Feature, landscape,

Exploring North Ossetia with @itsbaaat

For more photos and videos throughout North Ossetia, follow @itsbaaat and browse #exploringossetia hashtag on Instagram.

“I do not post just beautiful photos of nature,” Russia Instagrammer Batraz Butaev (@itsbaaat) explains of his love for the inspiring natural beauty of the North Ossetia region. “I share my memories of the most important moments spent with my friends in my favorite places, such as the snow-covered mountains, deep forests, mountain roads and waterfalls.” Following Baltraz’s lead, the local Instagram community uses the #exploringossetia hashtag to share their own picturesque photos of the area. As he explains, “I wanted to have a common gallery with my friends, showing how beautiful nature is in the North Ossetia region.”

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Photography, landscape, history, Architecture, maryland, thomas point shoal lighthouse, national lighthouse day, lighthouse, chesapeake bay, Location Feature, Instagram,

Keeping Watch above the Waves at the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse

For more photos and videos from the lighthouse, explore the Thomas Point Lighthouse and Thomas Point Lighthouse, Chesapeake Bay location pages.

Off the coast of Maryland, the Thomas Point Shoal lighthouse has kept watch over the waters of Chesapeake Bay for nearly 140 years.

Unlike traditional tower lighthouses, the Thomas Point beacon stands a mile and a half (2.4 kilometers) off the shore atop a stilt-like series of metal rods, or screwpiles, that anchor directly into the sandbank. While all other screwpile lighthouses in the nation have either fallen to winter ice floes or been relocated, the Thomas Point lighthouse has survived in its original location, earning it the designation of a National Historic Landmark.

Up until 1986, a succession of men lived in and kept watch from the small six-sided Victorian cottage above the waves, lighting the oil lamp behind the crystal lens and hand-winding the fog bell. Nowadays, the Baltimore Coast Guard maintains the lighthouse from afar, and an automated foghorn and solar-powered lens have taken the place of their human-powered predecessors.

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Photography, science, landscape, nature, travel, new zealand, tasman glacier, glacier, Location Feature, Instagram,

Exploring New Zealand’s Haupapa/Tasman Glacier

For more photos and videos of the glacier, explore the Tasman Glacier and Tasman Glacier Trail location pages and browse the #TasmanGlacier hashtag.

Located between two of New Zealand’s highest peaks, Aoraki/Mount Cook and Rarakiroa/Mount Tasman, the Haupapa/Tasman Glacier is a huge river of ice that covers 101 square kilometers (39 square miles) and reaches 600 meters (2,000 feet) in depth. As the longest glacier found in the country, it extends 27 kilometers (17 miles) along the borders of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand’s South Island.

The area receives a massive amount of snow in the winter, which melts southward into Lake Tasman by summertime. As the ice melts on the surface of the glacier, piles of stones and rocks from within are left on the top, creating what appears to be a vast plain of rubble. Although the layer of debris drastically alters the glacial landscape, it actually helps preserve the ice beneath and slows down the glacier’s retreat—and the dynamic environment attracts many ambitious hikers and climbers all year round.

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Photography, Black and White, mountain climbing, mountaineering, scotland, User Feature, Instagram, edinburgh, Ruairidh McGlynn, landscape,

Mountaineering the Scottish Highlands with @ruairidhmcglynn

To view more photos and videos from Ruairidh’s mountaineering explorations of the Highlands, follow @ruairidhmcglynn on Instagram.

"In early 2013, my brother asked me if I’d like to climb a Munro in Scotland called Schiehallion (which is famous for its distinct conical shape). I took my brother up on his offer,” says Edinburgh Instagrammer Ruairidh McGlynn (@ruairidhmcglynn), of his first mountaineering experiences in the Scottish Highlands. “At 6:00AM on a typically dreich (dull and miserable) day in January, we embarked upon the journey from Edinburgh. The summit was shrouded in cloud so there was disappointment from the seasoned veterans over the lack of view. But to me that didn’t matter because it was about this great journey and story that I’d just captured. From that moment on, I was hooked.”

Ruairidh posted an image from that trip to Instagram. Now, having invested in proper equipment and conquering 40 of the 282 of Scotland’s Munros (mountains of more than 3,000 feet or 914.4 meters), he pushes himself to capture each journey to share it with others. “Instagram is the perfect tool that allows me to convey to others the beauty of the mountains,” he explains, “the journeys that I go on and the things that you can achieve when you put your mind to it. I hope to inspire people to appreciate the outdoors and to embark upon similar adventures (responsibly and safely).”

As for photo tips to share, Ruairidh adds, “Where possible, I always like to include people to give a sense of scale and adventure balanced with dramatic weather and light, which more often than not is never far away in Scotland.”

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Photography, Art, Artists on Tumblr, landscape, rockaways, klaus biesenbach, moma ps1, Art Thursday, New York City, Instagram,

Art and Resilience in the Rockaways

For more photos and videos of the Rockaway! show, follow @klausbiesenbach on Instagram and explore the #rockaway1 hashtag.

At the forefront of ongoing Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts near some of the best beaches in New York City, the art festival Rockaway! is underway until September 1. Curated by Klaus Biesenbach (@klausbiesenbach), the show features works by artists including Adrián Villar Rojas, Patti Smith and Janet Cardiff installed in settings as various as a former automotive warehouse, a military chapel and even the beach itself. “One minute you’re digging your toes in the sand,” Instagrammer Oscar Diaz (@oscmdiaz) says of the show. “The next thing you know, you’re reading Walt Whitman’s poetry engraved on large granite stones.”

Pari Ehsan (@paridust), whose photos combine fashion and art also visited the Rockaways to see the show. “What really struck me is Klaus’s description of the inspiration behind Patti Smith’s The Resilience of the Dreamer,” she says. “After seeing an overwhelming heap of mattresses waiting to be discarded after Hurricane Sandy, the idea of this delicate gilded four-poster bed juxtaposed against a raw dilapidated space is a beautiful symbol of fragility and resilience.”