How a Photographer Took the Perfect Shot of a Stealth Bomber over the Rose Bowl

Published : Friday, January 5, 2018 | 6:50 AM

Aerial Photo of the B2 Stealth Bomber Flyover at the 2018 Rose Bowl Game Image Courtesy Mark Holtzman Twitter

Aerial photographer Mark Holtzman, a native Californian who has been photographing aircraft flyovers at the Rose Bowl since 2009, talks about how he and his son Steven took the perfect shot as a B-2 bomber, more commonly known as the Stealth bomber, flew over this year’s Rose Bowl game early Monday morning.

In a story on ESPN’s College Football Nation blog, Holtzman said he and his son were flying in a single-engine Cessna 206 above the path of the B-2 bomber and in an opposite direction from the south when he took a series of shots using the burst setting on his hand-held Canon camera.
One of those shots placed the B-2 exactly between the American flag and the Oklahoma team name in the end zone. Holtzman tells the ESPN blog that his goal was to pass above the bomber within the roughly two seconds it takes to cross the Rose Bowl field so he could photograph it from their position about 3,500 feet up in the air.

The bomber approached the Rose Bowl from the north at a speed of about 200 miles per hour and an altitude of about 1,000 feet. It was one of two B-2s that took off from Whiteman Air Force Base in Johnson County, Missouri, on a 13-hour training mission. The other aircraft flew over the Rose Parade earlier in the morning of New Year’s Day.

“It happens very quickly,” Holtzman tells ESPN. “You’re trying to set up the plane. I’m circling it around trying to get the position I want. The window is open and I stick my head out and shoot.”

Private aircraft like the Holtzmans’ Cessna are restricted from flying below 3,000 feet at a radius of five miles around the Rose Bowl, Holtzman said. He had coordinated everything with air traffic control and the Pasadena Police Department in advance.


Steven Holtzman, also an amateur photographer, was serving as a spotter to help make sure they get the timing right.

Holtzman has been doing aerial photography for years, after he obtained his pilot’s license when he was 17. He has over 25 years of experience as both a photographer and pilot, but began taking pictures at an early age, under the guidance of his father, who was also an amateur photographer.

He has also explored a variety of careers, studying Music at Cal State Northridge, working as an LA County Beach Lifeguard and Paramedic, and even trying his hand at acting – making a brief appearance in “All the President’s Men.”

In early 2000, Holtzman started West Coast Aerial Photography, and gave up another job to pursue aerial photography full-time in 2007. In 2008, Steven joined the West Coast Aerial Photography team full-time.

To learn more about Mark Holtzman and view his photos online, visit and

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