My Secret Source of Inspiration

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Emma Watson | 86th Annual Academy Awards (March 2, 2014)

(Source: adoring-emma)

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How I Shoot: Capturing Fog in England’s Countryside

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about the set-up and process behind their photos and videos. This week, Luke Cotton (@takemeonacruise) shares how he captures and edits foggy scenes from the English countryside.

Buckingshire, England, Instagrammer Luke Cotton (@takemeonacruise) doesn’t have to search hard for the beautiful foggy scenes he shares on Instagram. “I live in the English countryside and work as an agronomist, so I’m always outdoors in fields,” Luke says.

Capturing foggy landscapes is an art form, and Luke provided these tips for shooting and editing in foggy conditions:

Camera

"I always have my iPhone with me but just recently bought a Fuji x100s to make the most of low light situations.”

Vantage Point

"Trees dominate the landscape where I live, so that’s why I have so many in my feed. I find myself constantly scouting out new solo trees or perspectives. I like vanishing points so try to make the most of what lanes, tracks, fences or hedges can add in terms of leading lines in a photo. I sometimes use a tripod and a timer to add myself to shots—anything to add interest really."

Shooting

"I try to shoot at golden hour or in fog as it adds drama to the landscape. I follow the weather forecast very regularly looking for signs of mist or fog hopefully combined with some sun. I also track the time of sunrise and sunset. The light at dawn is my favorite, but you need to be up early to make the most of it. It can be frustrating if the conditions aren’t what you expected, but that makes it all the better when you get good shots. There are some lakes near where I live that attract fog so I often head there.”

For photo taking, “I tend to use the Camera+ (iOS) app as the stabilizer function gives a crisp photo.”

Editing

"I more often than not edit in VSCO (iOS and Android), but sometimes the filters are too much for the subtle light at dawn, so then I might just tweak the photo a little in Afterlight (iOS). I try and crop to the rule of thirds but sometimes just go with feel.”

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Scandinavia Celebrates the Feast of St. Lucia

To see more festive photos and videos, browse the #santalucia, #lussekatter and #lucia hashtags.

In Scandinavia, you are guaranteed three things each winter: long nights, crisp snowy days and the feast of St. Lucia. Every December 13, children in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark celebrate the gift of light, the coming of Christmas and the ancient Norse tradition of the Winter Solstice. St. Lucia’s traditions include a luciatåg—a candle procession symbolizing the gift of light—and eating saffron buns with raisins called lussekatter.

Foodies Ida Skivenes (@idafrosk) and Linda Lomelino (@linda_lomelino) look forward to the yearly celebration as a time for gathering together with loved ones and baking lussekatter. “For me, St. Lucia Day means Christmas is coming near. It’s a warm and cozy celebration, perfectly timed for the usually cold and dark winter,” says Skivenes. “As a child, I would take part in the candle processions, dressed in a white robe, holding a lit candle, and handing out freshly baked saffron buns while singing the Lucia song. As an adult, I simply enjoy eating the pastries and drinking hot chocolate or mulled wine (gløgg) with friends or family.”

Ina Johnsen (@matpaabordet), enjoys the luciatåg. “If you are lucky enough to have kids in kindergarten you’ll have adorable boys and girls dressed in angelic white nightgowns with silver wreaths around their heads to send off to school.” The children mirror the actions of St. Lucia, a third century martyr who is said to have secretly delivered food to persecuted Christians in the catacombs of Rome by bringing candlelight and lussekatter to friends and family.

Stories differ on where and when lussekatter, which translates to “cat eyes,” entered into the feast day tradition, but people of all ages eagerly look forward to eating the special S-shaped pastries spiced with saffron to intensify the flavor and color of ordinary yeast buns. “I always eat at least one lussekatt,” says Lomelino. “But preferably more!” Amid of the cold, dark winter, you’ll find those celebrating St. Lucia Day sharing scenes on Instagram of these special pastries and drinks in the warm company of friends and family.

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The Story of Darcy, the Flying Hedgehog (@darcytheflyinghedgehog)

To tune in to Darcy’s daily poses, be sure to follow her @darcytheflyinghedgehog.

"I want to make Darcy the most famous hedgehog in the world." With this in mind Tokyo Instagrammer Shota Tsukamoto started a unique series of photos of his pet hedgehog, Darcy. Darcy’s account quickly took off in a way Shota never expected and (@darcytheflyinghedgehog) is now one of the most-followed pet accounts on Instagram.

The three-year-old hedgehog takes her name from D’arcy Wretzky, the former bassist of the “The Smashing Pumpkins,” who Shota explains resembles “a pointy, edgy girl.” Despite the origin of her name, Darcy’s friendly, lovable nature shines through in the photos that Shota takes. “Hedgehogs are usually very cautious animals, but that is not the case with Darcy,” he says. She especially finds comfort in her owner’s palms and, once she’s there, she is fast asleep.

Aside from how adorable Darcy is, there is a distinctive artistry in Shota’s photos. “I imagine a page from a children’s picture book,” explains Shota. “I want (@darcytheflyinghedgehog) to be a surrealistic story and I even want people to question whether or not Darcy really exists in real life.” For example, his favorite shot of Darcy is of her sitting face-to-face with a skull object. “No matter how many times I look back at this shot, I can never seem to imagine what the two are talking about,” he says. He also does not add captions to his photos because he wants to encourage people to come up with their own stories about Darcy.

Want to take charming photos and videos of your pet? Here are some of Shota’s tips:

Camera iPhone 4s, iPhones 5s

Shooting

  • Think about the composition first. Then find props that would perfectly match that composition
  • Use consecutive shooting to make sure that you capture the best moments
  • Blow air on it, give it snacks or make it sleepy to bring out different expressions
  • Try not to force a pose on your pet. The more unexpected its actions and expressions are, the better the outcomes are

Editing Shota likes to use the Camera+ app. The app allows for consecutive shooting, which is essential to his work. He also uses the light-tone filter of this app to better capture Darcy’s soft pink skin, because he thinks that the native iPhone cameras tend to give off a yellowy color in the resulting images.


 

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Toddler naps with his 2-month-old puppy every day.

Blogger Jessica Shyba and her family adopted an adorable 7-week-old mutt. They named him Theo. On his third day as part of their family, Theo joined Jessica and her toddler son Beau for afternoon snuggle time. Beau fell asleep and then so did Theo.The next day, he joined in the naptime ritual again. “And so began,” Shyba says, “the most organic and beautiful friendship I have ever witnessed.” Since then, every day Theo waits for Beau to fall asleep and then joins him for his two-hour snooze.

#lifegoals

Holy mother of cuteness

This is what makes me all “I want another…” #sappy

(via diamondheart78)