Khotso Mokoena aint afraid of no Croc

Today was by far the scariest shoot I have ever done. Surounded by 85 crocodiles at the back of Tongaat’s Crocodile Creek, I shot images of Khotso Mokoena as he fulfilled a lifelong goal of jumping over a few of these Nile beasts. Why? Because his surname ‘Mokoena’ literally translates to he/she who swears by a crocodile,” in Sesotho and the animal is the collective identity for the clan. Now that’s paying homage to your heritage! Khotso had no problem clearing the five metre gap, seeing as his personal best is 8.5m, and did the jump a few times for me. I really wish I could have got down lower but without knowing how the crocs would react and with them facing me and others down the bank resting behind me I was too cautious to be reckless. On his next attempt Khotso jumped so high (as the crocs snapped at him) that he broke the framing we had set with his left arm. Damn adrenalin!

The best shot of the day as Murphy would have it was ruined when my radio transmitter failed to fire the main flash. Composition was spot on, timing was spot on, crocs were thrashing and there was no light. Aaaarrrrggh! So this image below is my new “The one that got away”

Thanks to Red Bull, Sunshine Company for helping out on the Hasselblad and Profoto gear without which I would never have had the ability to shoot this the way I did.

Athlete: Khotso “Croc” Mokoena
Camera: Hasselblad H4D-40
Lights: Profoto B4 and Profoto B3
Assistant: Ryan Jansens


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