A photographer captured an epic shot of a B-2 stealth bomber flying over a college football game which he says is the most special shot of his career so far.
Tyler Leipprandt of Michigan Sky Media caught the epic sight of the B-2 bomber flying above 100,000 people packed into the Rose Bowl stadium as he hovered 4,000 feet above ground in a helicopter.
“This is a shot that has been at the TOP of my bucket list for the past three years,” Leipprandt tells PetaPixel. “I have taken similar photos of big game flyovers at Big Ten football games, but when I heard a B-2 was scheduled to fly over the Rose Bowl, I knew that was the shot I needed to get.”
What made it sweeter for Leipprandt was that Michigan starred in this year’s Rose Bowl — a playoff semifinal to earn a spot in the national championship game — and he was only going to take the picture if Michigan was playing in the historic New Year’s Day event.
Planning and Expense
“This was easily the most expensive photo I have ever taken with a month of planning,” explains Leipprandt, who took up photography eight years ago.
“Once I found out that the [Michigan] Wolverines made the Rose Bowl Game, I immediately began researching, talking with helicopter companies in L.A., and booking my trip out there.”
“I was determined to get this photo and no amount of money was going to stop that. I felt that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with my team playing, so I was willing to take the gamble,” he continues.
“I will not give the exact amount this photo cost me, but let’s just say that the cost of my flights, hotel, car rental, ticket to the Rose Bowl Game, and food, didn’t come close to the cost to rent a large helicopter.”
Capturing the Shot
After all that waiting and all that money spent, Leipprandt was understandably nervous as he hovered thousands of feet in the air anticipating the B-2 bomber — terrified that he might mess it up.
“For a shot like this, I had to pull out all the stops. I was on a five-camera setup. My photo camera was a Sony a7R IV with a 50mm 1.2 lens,” he says.
“Mounted on that camera was a GoPro 12 facing down to capture the first person view of my main camera.”
“In front of me was my brother who joined me for the trip. He was rocking my Sony a7S III with my 70-200mm f/2.8, and was at 70mm shooting 4K 120fps,” he says.
“He got some incredible close-up footage that I have not even released yet. On top of that camera was a GoPro 360 capturing everything around us and our reactions. Lastly, I had a Go Pro 10 mounted in the back of the helicopter recording myself and my brother’s every move.”
For the showstopping photos, Leipprandt set his camera to a fast shutter speed of 1/3200 on a 10 frames per second burst mode. His aperture was f/3.2 and ISO was 250.
Ultimately the photo came out great and Leipprandt says that it is the most special shot of his career.
“This photo is special for so many reasons,” he adds. “This was the number one photo on my bucket list for a few years and I was able to cross it off on January 1, 2024.”
To purchase a print directly from Leipprandt, head to his website: Michigan Sky Media.
Image credits: Tyler Leipprandt of Michigan Sky Media