Editor's Note: If it's not immediately obvious to you, this article is satirical. We do not condone taking bear selfies. Please do not approach bears. You risk endangering the animal and yourself.
My first instinct when I see a bear is to immediately turn around and throw up dub peace signs too. @CoconutChanel photo.
Selfies are critical, even necessary if you will, for social media relevance and general self importance. Without a documented, albeit cropped, altered and filtered photo of yourself on a social media platform, your thousands of friends and followers wouldn’t understand the #vibes you felt while strolling through fall’s changing leaves, or the hangover that needed to be bragged about, or in this case, the proximity you were to a large and deadly wild animal.
Bear selfies are not for the faint of heart. The photo itself says “look how adventurous and free spirited I am” or “check out this flattering lighting that nearly cost me an arm and a leg, and oh yeah, that animal behind me.” They garner likes by the hundreds and comments in the double digits, ranging from “Wow so cool omg!!” to “LOL you’re so brave to get that close, but I love your new haircut” and even the well placed “You’re incredibly stupid.”
So, just exactly how do you execute a #breaktheinternet #bearselfie? Here is your guide.
#1: Know Your Equipment
Obama demonstrates proper selfie stick form with an appropriate background (sans bear). The White House photo.
Without understanding the full potential of your iPhone6 front-facing camera, you are not adept to take a proper selfie. Any seasoned selfier knows that the top volume button, rather than the button the phone screen itself, is the preferred shutter option. It simultaneously tones your arm with a more figure-flattering angle while also giving you ample space to position a bear between the aforementioned arm and your face.
#2: Practice Makes Perfect
Paul Souders might have arguably taken the most sought after #bearselfie due to the bears prime posture and Souder's clearly practiced pose. Photo via imgur.
Once you have practiced posing on your good side, try incorporating a stand-in animal; think house dog, house cat, or a smaller sibling. Due to bears’ wild nature, they often do not respond to common commands like, “sit”, “stay”, or “lay down” and may be unwilling to participate. Being quick on your feet, nimble with your fingers, and ready with your smile will get you the most social media-worthy results.
#3: Find your subject
Jacob Bean's bear placement in the background may rival Souder's in terms of photo composition. @jacob_bean photo.
If not summoned by their wildflife trainers in parks such as Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park, bears can be notoriously hard to find and coax into your shot. Without the help of a professional bear wrangler, like the ones these tourists were unable to locate, you may have to take long walks, also known as hikes, to frequented dens or berry patches. From here, you may want to wait with beef jerky, or some other beef product, to lure in your animal. Once located, attempt to coax your bear into a position that makes him look his largest and scariest. The best and most risky approach involves harassing their cubs.
This mean demonstrated the bravery necessary to get an Instagram worthy photo. His facial expression and pointed finger alert us of the otherwise unnoticeable bear in the background. @tomaltmann photo.
This is the crux of your selfie career. With iPhone in hand, finger positioned, and face tilted to a flattering angle, walk backwards towards your bear. There is no need to turn around to check on his or her location because you should have him/her properly positioned in your screen already. Begin rapidly clicking. The more shots you get, the more options you have to choose from. Rotate between “OMG scared face” to “sun never sets on a badass smirk” to “flattering closed mouth smile” to “quirky thumbs up, it doesn’t matter how dumb I look, this lighting and bear are prime, goofy smile.” Once you have have the shot, briefly scroll through your camera roll while maintaining your close proximity (in case you need to retake one of your expressions) to ensure that you #gottheshot. I’d suggest that you take an entire screens’ worth full of pics to guarantee success.
#5: Filter and Crop
This young woman seems to have used the Hefe Instagram filter to highlight her skintone in addition to the fall foliage @jentwen photo.
If you have followed this guide, then you will need minimal altering. Your bear should be properly positioned between your good side and your toned arm, and you should have a number of expressions to choose from, but let’s be honest; you may have had minimal sleep, and your under eye bags are egregiously visible, or your bear was actually standing in front of a tree and blending in with his surroundings, or maybe your hair is askew and overpowering the flattering angle. You can’t have it all. This is where over exposing, upping the contrast, over saturating, and cropping out arm flab or a stray hair will ensure that your photo is Instagram gold.
#6: 'Gram it, 'Book it, 'Snap it
@CoconutChanel is using her fame as a #bearselfie taker to try to get on Ellen. She has implemented Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and popular RT/RP practices to gain celebrity. @Coconutchanel photo.
Each facial expression will garner a different reaction and comment/like ratio. Be wary of your followers and cater to their tastes. Have you received over a hundred likes on a duck face selfie? Then stay consistent with the “closed mouth smile.” Are you known for silly photos with witty rhetoric? Use the “quirky thumbs up, doesn’t matter how dumb I look smile” accompanied with a clever caption, sans emojis. You know your account better than anyone. Put that knowledge to use. Lastly, post this photo to Instagram first, then share your gram on Facebook, and then share your post on Twitter. Do not exclude Google+, this photo will be googleable if it is on said platform.
If you are interested in unwillingly dying at an early age from vanity, or trying to threaten a delicate environment and dwindling animal population, or even purposely trying to get a bear euthanized, this is your guide. #BearSelfies are not only irresponsible and dangerous for the social media enthusiasts, they are endangering a species.
Animal trainer Mike Dumas takes the only acceptable #bearselfie with a polar bear he has raised for years. Barcroft TV Youtube photo.
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