New York (on Film)

Why do you travel?

I was mulling this over after I got back from New York several weeks ago. I think I travel to get out of my head, to slip on another identity. I’m not just Elissa-who-lives-in-Austin-and-shoots-weddings; in New York I was Elissa-who-knows-her-way-around-the-subway-system (though not really… thank you, Google Maps, for the assist).

New York was invigorating! The air was cold (not something I’m used to in September), people were everywhere, and the sky was crowded with buildings. I enjoyed it a lot more than the last time I was in the Big Apple, but I was very glad to come home to the big skies in Texas.

I decided to travel light and brought my film camera instead of my big rig. Digital has spoiled me — it was a big mental challenge to use film again. I’m not 100% happy with what I produced but wanted to share anyway :) I’ll write more about the What If Day Camp conference next week; these are just my out-and-about photos of my four days in NYC.

golden wall in nycbrownstone bagels B&W filmsoda shop on upper west side nycman buying ice cream new york 2013 interior of the met nycstreet buskers outside of the met metropolitan museum nyc exterior b&w photos of the metropolitan museum nyc high line nyc view of soho from a manhattan loft man walking down sixth ave nyc new york in the evening on film on top of the high line at sunset (film)reflection in the flatiron district nycgirl walking on the high line nyc

Erin & Pete | Austin Engagement Photos

cardigan and modcloth dress for engagement shoot

If it’s possible to give out awards for happiest first emails, Erin would have won the gold medal. The first time she reached out to me — over a year ago — she used so many exclamation marks that I found myself grinning. Hi! I’m Erin! I’m engaged to marry Pete! And the fourth thought I had after he proposed was, “HOLY SHIZZ I CAN FINALLY HIRE ELISSA TO PHOTOGRAPH THE WEDDING.”


So this engagement session is a long time coming. And although we were not blessed with amazing Texas sunlight — it poured all day — we ran with it. It’s wonderful having clients who say, “We trust you; do what you want.” So we played with light. We spent a lot of time together. We had cupcakes at Sugar Mama’s, got eaten alive by mosquitoes in Enchanted Forest, and Erin ruined a pair of beautiful blue suede pumps at Castle Hill graffiti park, but we made some beautiful photos. I’m so excited for Erin and Pete’s wedding this November :)

austin engagement shoot in sugar mamas bakeshop engagement session at sugar mamas bakeshop austinsugar mamas bakeshop cupcakes engagement session closeupenchanted forest engagement picturesenchanted forest engagement photos austin skyline night engagement shootphotographers who use interesting light during engagement shoots austin wedding photographer elissa r.

The Duty That Was Not.

Have you ever been so excited about something that you just couldn’t wait to do it? That was me three weeks ago when I received a jury summons in the mail.

“Walt!” I squealed, holding the piece of paper aloft in the air and shaking it. Walt was lounging on the couch eating cheese (as he does). “Walt! A jury summons!”

He was about to bite into his cheese but hesitated. “You or me?” he asked.



I’ve always wanted to serve on a jury. Maybe it’s all the bits about “civic duty” that had been drilled into my head during high school, or reading too many John Grisham novels as a teenager, or watching too many episodes of Law & Order: SVU, but I thought it’d be really interesting to be picked for jury duty. I’d received summons before, but I’d always been a student and was excused. This was the first time in 5 years that I’d been asked to do so.

I told everyone I knew that I was summoned. I told guests at my dad’s birthday party; I ran into a friend from college at the airport on the way to New York who is now a lawyer and told her about it; I announced it on Facebook. I was so excited, and the day of my assignment finally arrived. I drove down to the courthouse, paid for an all-day parking spot, walked up the stairs to the 5th floor (so full of energy that I ignored the elevator), and signed in. Settled in to wait with a bag of trail mix and a book, only to be told five minutes later that the judge was dismissing us all because there was no case today. “Thank you for your service,” the clerk said.

What?! That’s it?! I’m not going to even see the inside of a courtroom?! WHAT!!!

I was so disappointed.

But it was a beautiful day — one of those gorgeous days that people wish for when they live in Texas. Blue sky, 80 degrees, soft breeze… the perfect day to sit outside and enjoy the weather. So I called up my friend Caitlin and we had a snack on the patio at Bouldin Creek Café.

So I guess my Monday was pretty great after all.

austin skyline from zilker park overcast