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Instagram Spotlight: The Moments We Remember

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Left: Lines of fire arc across the Flint Hills consuming last year’s dead grasses to make way for this spring’s lush growth. Ranchers here in Kansas now replicate the ecosystem's burning patterns which Native Americans used before them. Right: Aleqatsiaq Peary is the great, great, great Grandson of Robert Peary who supposedly was the first person to arrive at the North Pole in 1909.

With all of the amazing tools modern photography has given us, it’s easy to get caught up in technical perfection or creating a unique composition. But sometimes it’s important to remind ourselves that photography started out as a way to capture a moment, a way to remember something that once happened. Sometimes the moment happening in front of us is so captivating—whether quiet, loud, bright, or dark—that we almost compulsively need to lift the camera and click.

Here we share some outstanding moments from our photographers at home and in the field. We’ve got Jimmy Chin above the Grand Tetons, Robert Clark in NYC, Paul Nicklen in Greenland, Michael Yamashita in China, Steve McCurry in Rome, Stephanie Sinclair in India, and Drew Rush in Yellowstone.

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The Grand Tetons photographed this winter during an aerial recon of ski mountaineering conditions in the high peaks of Grand Teton National Park. —Jimmy Chin

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Blossoms cover a back yard in NYC’s Upper West Side. —Robert Clark

As sea ice disappears, it is becoming a common sighting to have hungry bears in towns or camps looking for food. For myself, this was a wonderful encounter with a female polar bear. I took a couple of pictures and she casually went on her way. People have an innate fear of this incredible species and quite often, pull the trigger way too early before allowing the bear to satisfy its curiosity. I have seen over 3000 polar bears in the wild over the past 25 years and have never had a terrifying encounter. —Paul Nicklen

The best perch to shoot Hangzhou is from a rowboat on West Lake in Hangzhou, China. —Michael Yamashita

I photographed this man in Rome, Italy. Everywhere I go in the world, I see young and old, rich and poor, reading. Whether readers are engaged in the sacred or the secular, they are, for a time, transported to another world. —Steve McCurry

Family members of a mahout–Hindi for elephant keeper–play at dusk inside the Elephant Village in Jaipur, India. —Stephanie Sinclair

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“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” —John F. Kennedy. Good morning from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. —Drew Rush

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