U.S. Air Force Thunderbird Aerial Photographer


I’m staff sergeant Christy Machado from
Deltona, Florida. I’m an aerial photographer. That basically means that any of the
pictures you’ve ever seen in the Thunderbirds flying around, doing what
they do, this is where it’s taken. You don’t have to be a photographer to join
the military and be a photographer. They’ll train you, they’ll teach
everything you need to know. We do have two computers. This is the one I take on
the road with me, one because it’s portable and it has all the programs I need like
Photoshop and some photo capture programs and just stuff that I can use
to go through and do my edits. And then I also have my PC, which is what I kind of
use for more of work-related stuff like if I have paperwork I need to do or
if I need to get online to do some research for something. But I’m going to
go ahead and change and put this on get my gear together and we’ll go out to the
jet and I’ll show you my other office! It’s about the most intense thrill ride I think
anybody can ever go on, and I’m a roller coaster fanatic so this is just awesome.
Right now we’re at 1G which is one times our own body weight. That’s what everyone
normally is when they’re just standing on the ground. Pull up in the air when
you’re flying in one of these jets you pull more G’s, anywhere up to 9G, so it’s
9 times your body weight. What this does is, this will help me to keep the blood
up because it squeezes you, so it’ll squeeze me here on my abdomen, it’ll squeeze me on
my thighs and on my calves and that keeps all the blood up into my vital
organs, that way I don’t pass out. I’m not in my office editing at my computer, I’ll
be sitting in this seat taking pictures. Today I’m going to be shooting with my
digital Nikon camera and I’ve got a fisheye lens on there so I can get a
nice wide shot. This is what keeps me safe back here inside I have a ear phone
so I’m in communication with the pilot, I can hear everything that he’s doing.
Where I’m sitting is the backseat, but I have all the same controls that the
pilot in front has, so when the pilot is flying the plane, I can see the stick
move and I can see the throttle move and the rudders down at my feet move, so
basically I’m sitting in another driver seat of the plane. Yes my career field is
photography but I’ve gotten to see what it’s like to be a boom operator, who
refuels the planes. I’ve gotten to see what it’s like to be a videographer, a
crew chief, a life support technician, so I get to see a little bit everything in
this job which is what I like.

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