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PHOTOS: Instagram Challenge winner alters the LA landscape

by Mae Ryan | Off-Ramp

The winning image of Flo's Cafe at Disneyland for our Instagram Challenge with Instagram Lovers Anonymous "Neon Dreams." Danny Medina

Danny Medina rarely picked up a camera before he downloaded Instagram. Now he goes by @danstagram_ and he's hooked.

Like many Instagrammers, he started by taking photos of his dog, his food, his feet and some sunsets, but soon he was exploring the feeds of more established photographers on the app.

He combed through "hashtag bombs," those lengthy tags that people use to enter contests, name the apps they used to edit their photos, or just get more recognition from the Instagram community, and discovered a whole new photo world. 

Medina's image of Flo's Cafe in Disneyland is the winner of our most recent challenge with Instagram Lovers Anonymous, "Neon Dreams."

The image stirred some controversy with a few commenters who claimed that the image wasn't made using a mobile phone, a contentious issue on Instagram since some users upload photos made with other cameras than the iPhone.

"There's people who use the big professional DSLR cameras and those photos look amazing, but it's kind of like cheating to me," says Medina. "I'm a purist."

Medina used the app Rays, which is developed by Digital Film Tools, to get that streaky light effect, and he often employs a few different apps to get his photo manipulations just right.

If you want to up your Instagram game, check out some of Medina's favorite apps like PicFX, Snapseed, Image Blender, Afterlight and Filterstorm.

And make sure to play in our next Instagram challenge.

Off-Ramp, by the way, Instagrams as @johnofframprabe.

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