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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.

Photoset

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.”

Photoset

farming, farms, south carolina, plants, nikki seibert, crops, landscape, agriculture, Instagram,

Finding Quiet Moments on Local Farms with @wings_of_tin

For more lush portraits of life on small farms, follow @wings_of_tin on Instagram.

“Farming is the dedication of your life to the stewardship of plants from seed to harvest, for better or for worse, in good weather or bad, through pest and disease, at all hours,” says Nikki Seibert (@wings_of_tin). “All of this back-breaking and often heart-wrenching work is done to provide food for family, friends and neighbors.”

Nikki spends almost every day working with local farms in Charleston, South Carolina, where she runs a sustainable agriculture program for organic farmers.

“I’m a ‘farmer of farmers’,” she jokes. “A childhood filled with outdoor adventures, hardworking parents, and countless hours spent building, growing and fixing things created the trifecta for me to end up in a career in agriculture.”

Nikki uses Instagram to showcase her favorite colorful crops and the green, flourishing landscapes of the farmlands she visits.

“I hope my pictures show how important it is to support the people and places that make your community unique,” she says. “Also, how much I love playing in the dirt.”

Photoset

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."

Photoset

howishoot, User Feature, nicole franzen, flowers, plants,

How I Shoot: Photographing Flora with @nicole_franzen

For each How I Shoot, we ask an Instagrammer to tell us about the process behind their photos and videos. For more of Nicole’s photos and videos of plants, food, and day-to-day life made beautiful, follow @nicole_franzen on Instagram.

For Nicole Franzen (@nicole_franzen), a self-taught lifestyle photographer, springtime is very special. “In New York,” she says, “the winters are so long and grey. When we finally start getting green back into our lives, it’s almost spiritual. I can’t seem to get enough.”

Nicole says that she’s always been interested in things that grow. “When I was a kid, I would help my neighbor in the garden, asking lots of questions,” she says. “I typically have flowers in my home and admire them every day. Like most of the things I photograph I feel that it all connects.”

Here are Nicole’s tips for capturing the perfect picture of a plant or flower:

Camera

iPhone 5S

Vantage Point

"No right or wrong answer here. It depends on where the plant or flower lives. Get in close or pull away. Rows of lilacs, a close-up shot of a peony’s layers or a desert botanical scene–you can do no wrong."

Shooting

"Ideal scenarios include fog, mist, dew and a fresh summer’s rain. A common misconception is that a sunny day is ideal for a photo, but sometimes it’s actually really harsh. For the best light, get up early and catch that morning light and dew in the garden. You won’t be sorry."

Editing

VSCO Cam