A grizzly bear cruises a popular game trail in Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming.
Visit enough tourist attractions and you might be under the impression that every day is selfie day. But no—June 21 is the one official National Selfie Day, according to a radio DJ in Arlington, Texas, who was able to rally people around a singular celebration of a daily occurrence.
Even animals get in the selfie game fairly often … sort of. Photographing animals in the wild is difficult, because human presence scares them away. So in the 1980s, photographers started using camera traps. In the early days, a pressure pad was connected to a battery-operated flash and camera. When an animal stepped on the pad, it triggered the camera—essentially creating a self-portrait.
It still takes a lot of work on the photographer’s part, though. They have to do research and figure out where and when to set the camera trap. There’s the challenge of determining the proper framing. And for every image used, thousands are thrown out. But the animals remain vital to the process. Many photographers who use the technique consider these pictures collaborations with wildlife ... sort of like when your friend presses the shutter while you hold your phone.
So put down your selfie stick, give your shutter finger a rest, and enjoy these camera trap photos from the National Geographic archives.