A Walk in the Park
By Stock Photographer, Danny Warren
Sometimes you just get lucky. This is one of those stories.
By the time I finished lacing up my shoes and doing the parenting calculus of how many special snacks to bring, my kids were already racing down the trail with their grandparents. I grabbed my camera and tried to catch up. We were out for a day hike in Smith Rock State Park in Oregon with no agenda beyond enjoying a warm spring day in a stunning setting.
I’ve been there many times before, and I knew the best views of the towering cliffs were at the very beginning of the trail as it descends to the Crooked River crossing.
As I caught back up to them, I did a double take on my good fortune. My kids were holding hands with their grandparents in perfect position as they bounded down the trail – I could not have set it up any better!
I stepped up on a rock at the edge of the trail to gain a higher perspective and made a quick guess on manual exposure to account for the direct sun. They were walking fast, and I knew I wouldn’t have time to check my exposure as I went, so I purposely underexposed to not blow out the highlights and held my breath.
I fired a short burst of images as they walked through the scene, hoping to get one frame with arms and legs in decent position, let alone the focus and other settings right. The moment passed as quickly as it began, and I put the camera back on my shoulder to rejoin the group.
In my thirteen years of capturing and selling stock photography, my best-selling images have all fit this theme: people being active in the great outdoors.
These images tend to sell well for many reasons, but central to their commercial value is that they convey big ideas of adventure, health, and exploration. They also show real places that are useful for buyers needing editorial content for travel-related media.
When I finally got back home and downloaded the images from the trip, I went straight to this series of the group holding hands. I found the best frame and increased the shadow detail and vibrance slightly. My good luck truly sunk in – this image was going to be great for stock photography. It was also going up on our wall to preserve the memories of a truly fun day.