You Really Should Follow the Interior Department on Instagram

Instagram is hot – videos and all. And here is one more cool member to follow – the U.S. Interior Department! Details from Mashable:

You Really Should Follow the Interior Department on Instagram

You Really Should Follow the Interior Department on Instagram

Government is not known for its excellence in using social media — but the Interior Department, which oversees the country’s federal parks, has totally figured out Instagram. Just look at some of these gorgeous recent shots:

Interior Instagram 1


Interior Instagram 2


Interior Instagram 3


Interior Instagram 4

The Interior Department has been on Instagram for almost exactly a year, Director of Digital Strategy Tim Fullerton told Mashable.

“We launched our Instagram just basically to show the public all of the amazing lands that we have across the country,” Fullerton said.

Most of the Interior Department’s Instagram photos come from department staff or from the public’s submissions to photo contests. Interior is running one such contest this summer — the “Summer in America’s Great Outdoors” project, which asks parkgoers to submit their park photography to this Flickr collection.

The Interior’s Instagram account posts a combination of native iPhone or other mobile photographs along with adapted DSLR imagery. Fullerton says he occasionally posts photos he sees tagged in national parks, though only when he’s “gotten explicit permission” from the photographer.

“If we’ve seen some really striking amazing images, we’ve emailed asking for permission,” he said. “We’re always sure to give full credit on Instagram.”

Fullterton also said his team “got a pretty positive response” to early experiments with Instagram video, so he’ll be looking for more opportunities to experiment with it in the future.

Check out the rest of the Interior Department’s photography on its Instagram page. What other official Instagram pages do you enjoy? Share in the comments below.

Images via U.S. Department of the Interior

How to Master Instagram Tilt-Shift

Here are some great tips on how to master the tiltshift effect in Instagram – from Mashable:

Instagram Tilt-Shift

Instagram’s tilt-shift effect is the finishing touch on a work of smartphone art. It can be a masterstroke or a muddy mess, depending on how you use it. Too often, we’ve seen tilt-shift overused, misappropriated or misunderstood.

For the uninitiated, the tilt-shift effect is used by photographers to highlight a plane or exaggerate a minimal depth-of-field. It’s simulated in Instagram with a blur tool that comes in two flavors: linear and circular. Though simplified, the tool can be powerful if used wisely.

Instagram Tilt-Shift
Don’t let bad shift happen to you. Heed these tips, and you’ll be pinching and spreading your way to vignettes with more depth and likes in no time.*

*Mileage may vary, results not guaranteed.

1. Look for a vertical or horizontal axis.

The first rule of linear Instagram tilt-shift is to identify a discreet edge — that is, a clear delineation between foreground and background. This will make the object “in focus” pop appropriately.

In the vertical example below, the sign is on a nearer plane than the gas pump. It remains in focus while the miscellany fades into the background.

Instagram Tilt-Shift
In this horizontal example, the marquee is the subject of the photo, while the sky and street remain out of focus.

Instagram Tilt-Shift
Often, the difference between great tilt-shift and “meh” is when Instagrammers break the axis. At first glance, the photo of New York’s Penn Station below suggests a clear horizontal axis. We want the people in the foreground and the station in the back.

But there’s a staircase that breaks into the horizontal line. The railing is now partially “out of focus” while the people standing behind it are still “in focus.” This breaks the depth of field illusion that tilt-shift intends to create.

Instagram Tilt-Shift
In this vertical example, we have a clear subject in the foreground (my cousin Javis). However, there is no clean line on which to lay the tilt-shift. The result is an uneven depth of field, which ultimately looks sloppy.

Instagram Tilt-Shift

2. Define the foreground and background.

Tilt-shift can be used to highlight a subject in the foreground or background. Regardless of the position, the goal is to clearly define what the viewer should be looking at.

While this traffic signal box is actually behind its companion from this perspective, the tilt-shift effect pops it out of its surroundings. The depth of field is technically incorrect here, but it’s passable.

Instagram Tilt-Shift

3. Get as close to the edge without touching it.

You’ll need ginger fingers to align the edge and axis without crossing over. Instagram’s tilt-shift has a fairly sharp gradient. Encroach lightly for a feathered look (a smooth transition from foreground to background), but proceed with caution. Going too far will ruin the illusion of depth.

4. Use circular tilt-shift on circular items.

Circular tilt-shift really works best on circular items, as seen here.

Instagram Tilt-Shift
It’s very difficult to isolate odd shapes. Attempting to will leave gaps in the focus. The Goomba on my colleague Chelsea’s desk did not lend itself to circular tilt-shift.

Instagram Tilt-Shift

5. Isolate arcs.

Circular tilt-shift is not exclusively for circles. Expand the field to delineate background and foreground along rounded edges. It’s not an exact science. The arc on this fountain doesn’t align perfectly Instagram’s circular tilt-shift, but the colors in the background blend well enough to hold the illusion.

Instagram Tilt-Shift

6. Frame a non-circular object on a solid background.

The exception to the “only use the circle on circles” rule is when you are isolating your subject on a uniform background, like a solid color wall or a cloudless sky. In these cases, you won’t see the hard edge left behind by the ring.

In this example, my colleague Christine appears against a white wall. We can shift out the desks and computers, but it doesn’t matter where the ring lands — as long as it doesn’t feather her face or clip the foreground.

Instagram Tilt-Shift
In a poker game with Mashable’s chief strategy officer Adam Ostrow, we can rely on the white wall in the background while we shift out the chips in the fore — leaving the subject (and his scotch) in focus to ponder a game-changing bet.

Instagram Tilt-Shift
Franklin’s fur is uniform enough that we can isolate his face (somewhat circular in this pose) while shifting out his ears and body. As long as we don’t clip the carpet, it’s as if he is poking his nose right into focus.

Instagram Tilt-Shift
This adorable photo of my pal Julianne comes close. The dark background almost lends itself to easy isolation, but the split wall texture and water bottle in the foreground disturb the edge on this attempt.

Instagram Tilt-Shift

7. When in doubt, don’t.

It’s tempting to add that extra pop to every Instagram you take, but often, you just don’t need it. If you’re unable to identify a clear axis, ring, foreground or background, or if you’re struggling to align your edge without breaking the depth of field, just call it off. Your photo is better served without it.

If you’ve done it right, no one will notice.

Instagram Tilt-Shift
As with most creative endeavors, if you’ve done something right, most people won’t even notice it. You don’t want your photo to look tilt-shifted. You just want it to look awesome. Think about subtlety as you create your next masterpiece.

13 Products You Can Make From Your Instagram Snapshots

These are some cool things to make with all those Instagram pictures you have been taking! You already know that DLT Instagram! 🙂
Details from Mashable:

 Photo-sharing service Instagram has 25 million users who have uploaded 500 million photos since its launch in October 2010.
The app is a go-to for amateur and professional photogs alike, and its filters and tilt-shift functionality have won it a legion of loyal fans — and it’s still only available for iOS.Noting Instagram’s popularity, opportunistic companies and individuals have realized that these beautiful images shouldn’t be confined to your smartphone or tablet screen. By plugging into the Instagram API, these savvy entrepreneurs have created products — and sometimes even entire businesses — that bring your Instagram images to life.Take a look through the gallery for 13 cool Instagram-based products — and an exciting bonus item that could spice up your office, a wedding and any event.

If you want more products, such as mugs or tees, give Instamaker a try. Other Instagram items we’d love to see: laptop cases, umbrellas, dishes, stationery, postage stamps, dog paraphernalia and charm-style pendants. What would you want to see? Let us know in the comments.

Worldcam Helps You Find Instagram Photos in Specific Locations

This is similar in a way the post from a while back (This is Now! and it is VERY cool if you like Instagram!) on looking at random Instagram pictures from specific cities. This service takes it a step further and allows you to not only see Instagrams from a city, but also from a landmark or even building within that city! Take a look at Worldcam and enjoy!


Worldcam is built on Foursquare, Instagram, Geonames and Geoplugin’s APIs, lets you search for Instagram photos of a specific location in any city in the world. The entire service could also be described as an easy way to look inside any building, since Instagram users often take photos indoors.

15 Instagram Pics Capturing City Life

Cool City Life pictures from Mashable:

Back in May, we wrote about a Social Media Week contest in which your Instagram photo of your city could win you a trip around the world. A winner, along with finalists from 14 cities, have now been chosen.
The contest sought pictures showing the vibrancy of city life from the 14 cities hosting Social Media Week events: Barcelona, Berlin, Bogota, Chicago, Doha, Glasgow, Hong Kong, Jeddah, London, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Torino and Vancouver.The winning image, the first slide in the above gallery, was taken by Berlin resident Björn Köcher. The shot is of the words “The World is Too Small for Walls,” which were written by a graffiti artist on a remaining piece of the Berlin Wall.

“This image of Berlin stood out not just as a reflection of the uniqueness of the city, but also as a powerful reminder that the global movement towards open and transparent communication has roots in historical events of the past,” said a Social Media Week blog post. “Erected in 1961 to separate the communist controlled East Berlin from West Berlin, The Berlin Wall symbolized separation and division, a notion which to us serves as a powerful reminder of how far we have come and importance of technology and social media in helping to fight oppression and injustice.”

In addition to a winner and finalists representing each city, Social Media Week chose a “Most Artistic” and “Most Iconic” shot.

This is Now! and it is VERY cool if you like Instagram!

People across the globe are Instagramming right now. It IS the popular thing to do even if you don’t understand why people would take small filtered pictures when they have a great cam app or even a greater camera! But whatever it is, it is sweeping the globe.
Are you curious what pictures people in say New York, London, Sao Paolo, Tokyo, and Sydney are taking right this second? This Is Now:

25 VERY Cool Instagram Cityscape Photos

25 very cool Instagram cityscapes which take full advantage of Instagram filters – from Mashable:

1. Circle, Indonesia

Courtesy of @bogieeryawan

25 VERY Cool Instagram Cityscape Photos

2. Skyline, Paris

Courtesy of @natenurse

3. Architecture in Belgrade

Courtesy of @iconomaque

4. Louvre Museum, Paris

Courtesy of @iconomaque

5. CN Tower, Toronto

Courtesy of @monicarooney

6. Urban Butterfly, New York City

Courtesy of @johndeguzman

7. Chrysler Building and 42nd Street, New York City

Courtesy of @johndeguzman

8. Hospital Facade, Asturias

Courtesy of @alemor73

9. White Facade, Gijón

Courtesy of @alemor73

10. Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires

Courtesy of @argen

11. Bicycle, Florence

Courtesy of @birgittebrondsted

12. Wet Street, Florence

Courtesy of @birgittebrondsted

13. Renault 4, Graz

Courtesy of @darkolabor

14. Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, Ipanema

Courtesy of @giuseppeamado

15. Skyline, Goiânia

Courtesy of @giuseppeamado

16. Big Ben, London

Courtesy of @jeera

17. Millenium Bridge, London

Courtesy of @jeera

18. Fontainebleau and Hilton, Miami

Courtesy of @theunknownchef

19. Obelisk, Buenos Aires

Courtesy of @jorgegobbi

20. Connection, Germany

Courtesy of @monstropolis

21. City of Zagreb, Croatia

Courtesy of @notanotherbarbie

22. Quincy Market, Boston

Courtesy of @rickbellitti

23. Millennium Park, Chicago

Courtesy of @sixftosunshine

24. Skyline, Los Angeles

Courtesy of @thegreenpotato

25. Skyline, San Francisco

Courtesy of @zhazha