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Is it just me or does the cloud on the left resemble the Cookie Monster?

(Photo during a flight from Boston to Seattle) 

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Instagram the past

I’m trying something new (and old) with Instagram. Every so often I’ll find a photo I shot in the past and post it. I’m calling it #InstaPast.

The idea is to share photos taken before Instagram existed. Hope you can join.

This first one is from Feb. 6, 2010, in the midst of the famous Snowpocalypse storms in D.C. I was walking down Connecticut Avenue NW near Van Ness, on my way into work. It was eerily quiet on a street that’s usually bustling.

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My Top 10 Instagram Photos of 2011

I started using Instagram on Dec. 2, 2010 (I found that using the handy site Statigr.am), and it’s become one of my favorite social tools.

I’m not a professional photographer by any standards. But the iPhone 4’s kick-ass camera and Instagram’s filters produced some nice photos over the past year. I snapped more than 200 Instagram images in 2011.

Here are the 10 I liked the most:


10.

What: A silhouette of New York, taken from Central Park.

When: May 7

Why: It’s my only N.Y. photo in this group. I love how the buildings reflect off the ink-black water.

9.

What: Giant icicles in Weston, Mass.

When: Feb. 5.

Why: These are some bad-ass icicles. This was after one of the many huge snowstorms Massachusetts was hit with this year. I had traveled up from D.C. the day before and barely made it in. 

8.

What: Augie going after Mia’s tail. 

When: Sept. 5

Why: Why not?

7.

What: Fire at a hibachi grill in Dedham, Mass.

When: Oct. 1

Why: It’s the only photo I Instagrammed in 2011 that features fire.

6.

What: A pond in Weston, Mass.

When: Oct. 10

Why: This defines the perfect New England fall scene.

5.

What: My cat McGee, peering out from behind a curtain.

When: Nov. 13

Why: Look at those eyes!

4.

What: Me outside The Washington Post.

When: July 22

Why: At this exact time, the heat index in D.C. was 119 degrees. I walked outside and thought, how can I capture this for Instagram? I think I did just that. The way the hot sunlight bursts from the corner of the picture illustrates heat perfectly. 

3.

What: Mia (my sister’s dog) emerging from a pile of blankets.

When: July 9

Why: I snapped this photo just as Mia crawled out from under the covers. The timing was great because you can see a distinct mix of emotions on Mia’s face — surprise, curiosity and a little silliness.

2.

What: The Washington Monument in D.C.

When: Aug. 29

Why: This was a close second. I switched jobs this year, moving from D.C. to Boston. Two days before moving to Boston, I took a walk with a friend on the National Mall. When we walked across the middle of the Mall, we saw this stunning image and I had to Instagram it. It looks like the Washington Monument is literally crashing into the sky. It was a great way to see Washington one last time as a resident.

And the winner…

1.

What: A row of grapevines at Newport Winery and Vineyards in Newport, R.I.

When: Oct. 15

Why: My fiance and I visited this place for a tour and wine tasting. It was a beautiful day and the second I saw the vineyards, I knew I had to get a photo looking down one row. I love images that look like they never end. And the Early Bird Instagram filter was perfect for this photo. 

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The path of a Hurricane Irene cellphone photo

My father will be the first to admit that he’s not the most technologically savvy individual. So I was impressed when he ventured out to a beach in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Thursday and snapped a great photo of Hurricane Irene as it grazed the coast. 

Then he texted the photo to me. He later told me how he was on the beach and all of the sudden the sky turned dark:

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If you’re an Instagram fan, then you need to check out Statigram

In compiling my list of third-party Instagram applications, I’ve played around with apps that allow you to do a variety of things with your Instagram photos: view them on the Web, view them on your desktop, turn them into stickers, send them as postcards, download them, print them, compete with them, view them as a map and much more.

But I think my favorite is a fun site called Statigram. Statigram provides statistics about your account (among other things). The stats you get include:

-Your top liked and commented photos.

-The users you most like.

-The days you most use Instagram.

-The filters you most use (and never use).

-And more.

And it doesn’t display that information simply using boring old numbers, but rather in a beautiful array of colorful charts, numbers, photos and words.

Then, after you scroll through your stats, you can head over to the “Snapshots” section of the site, where you can e-mail yourself (or others) reports and fun images (including an IG “birth certificate” and an image that names, and thanks, your top five followers) that you can post to Instagram.

My breakdown:

You can share your stats, too, using a public URL created by Statigram. Here’s mine: http://statigr.am/ericathas

Pretty cool, huh? But wait, there’s more! Statigram is also an excellent Web viewer for IG. You can see your feed, comment and like photos, view the most popular images and scroll through all of your followers and followings. The site also gives you different ways to look at photos, including a slideshow option.

If you’re an Instagram user, Statigram is a great tab to keep open. It’s a fun, and useful companion to IG.

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Hashtagram lets you follow Instagram, Twitter in realtime

The newest addition to my always-growing list of third party Instagram apps is Hashtagram — a site powered by e24apps that displays a realtime slideshow of Instagram photos based on Twitter search. 

You simply plug in a term, say #greece or #sunset, and up pops the latest Instagram photos that people have sent out on Twitter. The corresponding tweet also pops up and gives you the option to reply, retweet, quote and favorite. 

I can see this being useful in two ways. First, the obvious: As a way to search for eye-catching images or interests. Maybe you search #wimbledon while watching a match. 

The second way it could be useful is in a breaking news situation where you want to see the latest images coming in from the scene. Instagram — at least from my perspective — isn’t a big breaking news photo sharing service yet. I think this is because it’s mostly used for snapping photos of cool-looking things, such as storm clouds gathering over a New England pond

But I actually think it has great potential during a breaking news situation (see Brian Stelter, Joplin tornadoes). I can see opening a Hashtagram window during the next major news story that has compelling images coming out of it.

More on Hashtagram:

The site: hashtagram.com

Follow them on Twitter: @hashtagramcom

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10 photos from Massachusetts

I spent most of last week in Massachusetts, so I thought I’d Tumblrize some of my favorite Instagram photos from the trip:

First stop from the airport: Lunch at Anna’s Taqueria in Brookline. Delicious.

My sister’s dog Mia at her house in Natick:

Took a spin in my dad’s black 1985 Corvette:

Embracing nature in the suburbs:

Here’s another one of Mia:

Weather most of the week was sunny. On Thursday, we were hit by a quick, albeit powerful, storm. This is of the sky above a pond in Weston:

On Friday I went canoeing in the Charles River with my fiance:

Later that day my sister’s boyfriend Mike proposed to her! We celebrated in Waltham:

Rain came Saturday. Here’s a shot of the WGBH digital mural over the Mass Pike. It’s nice to know a cow is watching over you as you drive into the city:

Returned to D.C. on Sunday. Left a foggy Boston behind:

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Iconic photos Instagrammed

I was wondering recently what historical photos would look like through Instagram’s filters (if they had an iPhone on the moon, for example).

I picked a handful of famous images that came to mind and sent them through Instagram. The photos themselves don’t need detailed introductions, but I did link to the historical significance for each one. 

Ali beats Liston (Sutro filter)

Nixon departs (Hefe filter)

Bill Clinton and Kim Jong-Il (Lomo-fi filter)

First moon walk — (Toaster filter)

Afghan girl (X-Pro II filter)

JFK, “Ask not…” (Walden filter)

Obama in the rain (Lomo-fi filter)