Make Someone Happy

Make someone happy,

Make just one someone happy,

And you will be happy, too.—Styne, Comden & Green

Today’s Post by Mildred Alpern

Why not? With a camera and an appreciation for panache and style, it’s possible. Getting a candid portrait shot of a stranger requires forthrightness, even a soupsçon of bravado. I am not talking about unobtrusive shooting with a long lens, or pop-up-surprise snapping in someone’s face, rather about respectful requesting—in the moment.


It happens this way: On the Riverside Park pathway, walkers head toward destinations. On the low walls bordering the park, sitters perch in conversation with friends. And although flowers are blooming and butterflies are flitting, the human face has a magnetic attraction, particularly if it is enhanced by artifice or shifting plays of light.

On a recent walkabout, I saw a young woman, a veritable glow of greens, stunning lime and teal colors, heading towards me. “You look great,” I blurted at close range. “May I take your picture?” She stopped and smiled, and I did.



Another time, I spotted a young woman sitting on the Riverside Park low wall. The afternoon light danced about. “The light is so lovely on your face,” I confessed. “May I take your picture?” She too smiled broadly, and I did.

Of course, I am prepared for a “No thank you.” But the usual response is, “You made my day!”

See! Easy to “make someone happy, and you will be happy too.”

For the woman with green hair, I used the Olympus E-M5 and Olympus M. Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro (80-300mm equivalent) lens at 40mm, with an exposure of 1/1000 sec at f/ 2.8 and ISO 200. For the sitting woman, I used the Olympus E-M5 and Olympus M. Zuiko 12-40mm Pro (24-80mm equivalent) lens at 38mm, with an exposure of 1/800 at f/5.6 and an ISO of 400.