For the Love of the Game

Sport and Outdoor Adventure Photographer Zoon Cronje

Photography has always been a hobby of mine, but a major leap in my photography was in fact the by-product of using professional photographers as part of the service offering of my marketing company, Advendurance, which provides media services to mountain biking events companies. I had the opportunity to learn first-hand from some of the best shooters in the game, comparing my shots to theirs and building my confidence over time. My interest catapulted me into a niche market, which I carved and crafted into what is now a very specialised service.

I differentiate myself by focusing on the sharp end of events, telling the story visually and capturing the moments as the action unfolds. I am driven by the combination of adrenaline in chasing the leaders, dealing with top international athletes, and the adventure of just getting into often remote locations to get the right shot. I have seconds to decide what I want to do with a shot, and very seldom (if ever) get the opportunity to set up a shot. It’s a thrilling game of hit and miss!

Hanging out of helicopters, racing off-road in my Pajero, trail running or hiking through rough terrain lugging the necessary gear have become my weekend activities, and fuel my passion even further! It is a privilege to be able to race through areas few people ever get to see, soaking up the scenery from hidden perspectives and bringing it to the public eye through my lens. The gratification I feel when I know I have nailed a shot is like a drug; and the more unique the moment, the greater the dose.

Hanging out of helicopters, racing off-road in my Pajero, trail running or hiking through rough terrain lugging the necessary gear have become my weekend activities, and fuel my passion even further!

Can you describe your particular brand of adventure photography?

Real and in the moment, I can’t afford to spend any time on post processing so I’ve got to be able to get the shot right first time and with no time to set up either. I also prefer shooting people that aren’t aware of the camera so the moments are more natural.

What attracted you to this particular genre of photography?

I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie, I love sports and used to compete so being so close to the action still gives me that kick I need to keep things interesting.

When did you realise your hobby had evolved into something profitable?

I have always been snapping away and I guess the 10 000 hour rule applies here because people eventually offered to pay for images and it kind of just grew from there.


What personal qualities do you think one needs to be a good outdoor adventure photographer?

You need to be willing to go where nobody else will, to get that unique shot that stands out and you always need to push the envelope, if you aren’t growing and challenging yourself your competition will always be catching up.

Do you ever feel separated from an experience by being behind your lens?

I actually feel deeper engrossed in the action because it is "even more in your face”, but I can say that I have been too close to some of the action before because you get a false sense of security behind the lens.

How do you stay ahead of the pack in capturing the shot nobody else will have?

I do in-depth research for each sport so I understand the intricacies and you develop a knack for being at the right place at the right time, to quote Gary Player “the more I practise the luckier I get".

What have you crossed off and what still remains on your personal adventure bucket list?

Wow my bucket list is varied but I would risk saying that the Migration and Ngorongoro were my wildlife highlights and sports-wise the Dakar rally and Tour de France are on my hit-list, and soon I hope!

What has been your biggest lesson learnt through your work as a photographer?

I would say that there is always more to learn and new ways to do old things. Never get comfortable I guess sums it up.

To view more of Zoon's work visit: www.zooncronje.com