Many of us are afflicted with some kind of fear or “phobia”, and the fear of heights is quite a common anxiety. Known medically as “acrophobia”, it is an abnormal and stubborn type of fright. Acrophobia is a natural fear, and to a certain extent, there is nothing wrong with it. It is healthy and natural, a God-given mechanism that protects against doing things dangerous like standing near a cliff or walking at heights unprotected. The problem begins when the natural healthy instinct turns into paranoia. Acrophobia can be quite overwhelming and debilitating. Countless individuals suffer from acrophobia of varying degrees, and Brian Rueb, our featured photographer is one of them.
Folks like Rueb when exposed to heights experience symptoms such as excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, breathlessness, dizziness, feeling sick, shaking, heart palpitations, as well as the incapacity to speak or think clearly. Extreme symptoms of acrophobia also comprise a fear of dying, becoming crazy or losing control, a sense of detachment from reality or even an intense anxiety attack. Rueb however was determined to be proactive about his condition. Here’s how.
Earlier this year, Rueb photographed his friends’ memorable wedding and in the process, overcame his acrophobia. Endijs and Elina, the newlywed couple, are enthusiastic outdoor people. For their wedding, what they had in mind was a unique photo-shoot, having their nuptials taken on the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.
Realizing this would be a harrowing experience, Rueb did not dwell on the particulars, and quickly said yes to the project. The Half Dome is an an 8.2 mile climb at 4,500 feet of elevation gain, with parts of the climb only scalable thru support cables. It terrified, Rueb, to say the least, but he faced his fears anyway and overcame them eventually.
To make a long story short, Rueb made it to the top and shot some amazingly beautiful images that epitomize the adventurous couple’s spirit. The ceremony also included other hikers, and they were all thrilled to see the bride emerge in her wedding dress. “Their eyes were filled with tears. They cheered when the couple sealed their nuptials with a kiss,” said Rueb. “It was truly one of the most beautiful and inspiring events that I have ever witnessed.”
See the wedding in the sky and hopefully you don’t get a queasy feeling afterward.