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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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Instagram, norway, skrova, lofoten islands, fjords, explore, nature, nature photography, Photography,

Bracing Nature “At Its Most Raw and Wild” in Norway’s Lofoten Islands

For more photos and videos from Norway’s Lofoten Islands, explore the Skrøva location page, browse the #@skrova hashtag and follow @eivindnatvig on Instagram.

Nestled among the craggy mountains of Norway’s northern coast, the Lofoten Islands are some of the most idyllic on earth. Situated on a small group of islands, the fishing village of Skrøva is home to just a few hundred residents, and tourists flock to the area in the summer months seeking retreat from the modern world. The natural arctic surroundings provide the perfect setting for hiking, watching whales and spotting the Aurora Borealis in the clear night skies. With just a few daylight hours for most of the year, long sunrises and sunsets bathe Skrøva’s white sand beaches and jagged mountain backdrop in a pink light.

Living in Skrøva also lets you experience weather “at its most raw and wild,” says local Instagrammer Eivind Natvig (@eivindnatvig), who captures breathtaking moments from Skrøva’s natural landscapes on Instagram. “Skrøva is somewhere you can experience human vulnerability to the elements,” he says. “When storms come in, we are often isolated from the rest of the world, which provides a wonderful freedom but has its own set of challenges.”

"As one of a handful of people lucky enough to live on Skrøva, I have the unique opportunity to witness and share the daily changes in our incredible nature with Instagrammers around the world," says Elvind. "I hope my photography can bring something different to the way people see Lofoten."

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macro, nature photography, tips, user feature, howishoot,

How I Shoot: Macro Nature Photos with @rickyohead

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about their photo-taking processes. This week, @rickyohead shares his tips for taking up-close photos of nature with a mobile macro lens.

Camera: iPhone 4, with Olloclip macro lens

Vantage Point: Bug’s-eye view, very close to the subject. Crawling in the grass, peeking under a leaf, on my tippy toes to reach a flower — whatever it takes to capture a unique perspective.

Shooting: Public parks and preserves are best, but nature is everywhere if you look carefully. Lighting is key. Early morning is great because of the strong, warm colors and opportunity to get a sharp, backlit shot. For bugs, be patient and don’t be afraid of the critters you find. If they fly away when you approach, they usually land close by. To create depth, try shooting from the side, as opposed to straight down.

Editing: I don’t like to alter a macro nature photo after it’s been taken. All the details and imperfections make it real. The square 1:1 Instagram crop is a great opportunity to frame creatively. On rare occasions, I’ll apply the Instagram Lux filter to add vibrancy and contrast.

For more iPhone macro tips from Ricky, visit his website. @rickyohead would also like to especially acknowledge his friend and macro mentor, @eyefor.