07/10/2014 05:23 pm ET Updated Jul 11, 2014

These Gorgeous Photos Were Taken At 500 MPH

Sergeant Larry Reid Jr. just might be the flyest photographer you'll ever encounter. Quite literally.

A photographer for the United States Air Force, Reid spends his days with the Thunderbirds, an elite group of F-16 demonstration pilots. As part of his job, Reid often flies along with the group, capturing their astounding acrobatics in mid-air.


This is no cushy assignment: The job requires Reid be able to manipulate his camera in some tricky situations -- like holding onto a camera while doing 9 Gs. In an interview with the photo blog Fstoppers, Reid likened his work to shooting aboard "a roller coaster on steroids."

"[Y]ou're going 500+ miles per hour, and ... everything happens so fast," he said, adding that doing more than 9 Gs while holding a 15 to 20-pound camera and lens would bring him close to "absolute muscle failure."

For perspective, in April of this year, the Thunderbirds flew a professional photographer by the name of Blair Bunting in one of their F-16s. In a blog after the experience, here's how Bunting, a civilian, described doing 9 Gs:

Firstly, in no way is it comfortable, not even close. I began to feel my face melting away as the skin in my cheeks pulled down to my mouth. The color from my vision was the next thing to fade away, first the reds, then the greens. Squeezing like hell, I did everything I could to get air into my lungs as the G-suit wrenched it out. With all the color of a 1950s television set, the next thing I noticed was that waves were starting to develop in my vision and a vignette appeared. All the while I am listening to the pilot’s breathing and trying my hardest to match it.

See some of Sergeant Reid's photos, below:

Mid-Air Photography Of The USAF Thunderbirds

So, where do we send our job applications?

h/t PetaPixel