Hopeless Yellowstone tourist demonstrates the worst way to photograph bears

Bear with three cubs at Yellowstone National Park, USA
(Image credit: Getty)

A woman visiting Yellowstone National Park was recorded giving a demonstration of the worst possible way to photograph the park's wildlife. The video was shot in 2021, but has recently begun recirculating on social media thanks to Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which highlights examples of bad behavior at US National Parks – often involving wildlife.

The clip, which you can watch below, shows a woman standing taking photos a couple of meters from a trio of bear cubs. One cub makes a bluff charge, prompting her to step back, but she seems oblivious to the danger posed by the animals' mother, who is doubtless close by.

Bears are naturally wary of humans (unless habituated or food conditioned) and prefer to avoid a confrontation. However, the National Park Service notes that bear attacks are rare, but they can become aggressive if they, their food, or their young are threatened. See our guide what to do if you meet a bear for advice on how to stay safe in bear country.

Although she avoided injury, the woman didn't escape the law, which is very strict when it comes to reckless behavior in National Parks. She was initially charged with wilfully remaining, approaching, and photographing wildlife within 100 yards, and intentionally disturbing wildlife. She pleaded guilty to the first charge, and received a $2,000 fine, a four-day spell in a local detention center, a year's probation, and a one-year ban from the park. The second charge was dropped.

National Parks are home to some spectacular wildlife, and it's natural that visitors want to capture the moment they spot an animal, but there are much safer ways to go about it. The National Park Service's guide to wildlife photography recommends using a telephoto lens to get a close-up view while remaining at a safe distance.

One of the best ways to photograph wildlife is from inside your car, which provides a layer of protection and gives plenty of surfaces to steady your camera against for a sharper shot. Stay still and quiet while you work to avoid disturbing the animals. 

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.