Will Instagram’s New Embed Function Change Travel Blogging?

Instagram just announced users now have the ability to embed photos and videos, a move that has the potential to change the face of travel blogging. Now, even novices will be able to bypass fancy editing software and the hassle of YouTube or Vimeo uploads. Short clips can be composed, edited, uploaded and pasted to websites in a matter of minutes — while simultaneously being shared across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Seriously, it’s a shameless self-promoting traveler blogger’s dream come true.

Watch what a potential Instagram travel vlog (that’s a video blog, in case you didn’t know) could look like above, where McLean Robbins shows off a ghost town in Jerome, Arizona.

Of course, the downside is it’s highly likely there will be a lot more “cheating” by posting filtered photos online. And there will probably be more cliché photos — toes in a sandy beach, latte art, etc. — popping up on blogs. You win some, you lose some.

And by the way, follow us on Instagram for a constant feed of travel inspiration (how’s that for a shameless plug?).

Airbus Will Introduce Self-Tracking Baggage Line

Airplane manufacturer Airbus has been cooking up another innovation: a “smart bag” that allows travelers to check in and track their luggage from their phone.

The tech-infused piece of luggage, Bag2Go, contains sensors and an RFID chip that communicates with airlines systems – including check-in and security – and relays the information to an iPhone app. For packing and check-in purposes, the luggage will be able to automatically weigh the contents of suitcases, and users will be able to track their bag as it makes its way onto the plane. It will also alert travelers if their baggage has been opened, saving travelers the trouble of getting caught in a baggage theft scam, like the one in Italy earlier this year that ended in nearly 50 arrests.

The bag is still in the development stages, but in a promotional video Airbus is saying travelers will either be able to buy a Bag2Go suitcase or rent them trip-by-trip. Although the baggage doesn’t seem to help solve the mystery of what to do if your luggage accidentally gets sent to Timbuktu, we’re glad it’ll save us from milling around baggage carousels as we impatiently wait for our suitcase to materialize.

[via Wired]

Video Of The Day: French Street Performer Spreads Love Of Cats

Street performers, or buskers, are found in every corner of the world, and practice of performing in public places for gratuities dates back to antiquity. Performers are constantly coming up with wild and wacky ways to impress passersby and entice them into donating their spare change. This short documentary by Paul Trillo follows one of those unique characters: a cat-loving street performer who travels for hours by train throughout the south of France to perform with his affectionate house cats. Although it was shot during the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, it was brought to my attention today when Vimeo.com cat-ified their homepage for April Fools Day.

Who is the strangest street performer you’ve ever seen, and where did you find them?

Video Of The Day: Los Angeles Time Lapse

Today’s Video of the Day comes from Vimeo user iVideoMaking, who captured some amazing time-lapse footage of greater Los Angeles. Besides several striking skyline views, there are also some artful captures of iconic Los Angeles landmarks, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Eastern Columbia Building. According to the photographer, more than 200 locations were scouted to make the film. The result is a video that shows many angles of Los Angeles – take a look and you might discover something new.

Video Of The Day: Starry Nights In Namibia

For more than a decade, Dutch professional photographer Marsel van Oosten has been venturing to Namibia, where he has been creating an extensive night photography portfolio. Oosten, who specializes in nature and wildlife photography and has won awards from National Geographic and Photo District, used his photography expertise to create the time-lapse video above, which is an excellent example of how to artfully use lighting, composition, color and perspective.

According to the write up on Vimeo, each second of video consists of 30 photographs. To create the video, Oosten shot more than 16,000 images over a period of two years. According to the photographer, the idea was to create a night photography time-lapse video featuring his most popular subjects in Namibia: the fairytale-like quiver trees, which are a huge tourist draw in Namibia, and the eerie giraffe thorn trees, which can grow up to 55 feet high. What is most remarkable to me, however, is the mesmerizing way in which the stars appear to move across the sky.

Oosten’s efforts for this video and his accompanying photographic work paid off when he won first place in the Wild Planet category at the 2012 Travel Photographer Of The Year Awards. Here’s to hoping he continues to capture amazing scenes in Namibia and beyond.