Zolli Visuals: Surf Photographer

Beyond The Frame

Welcome to another episode of Surf Bank's Beyond The Frame where we dive into the captivating world of surf and ocean photography, going beyond mesmerising captures exploring the backstory of many talented photographers. In this episode we will be hearing from passionate surf photographer Zolli Visuals who since the age of 13 has been offering stunning shots of New Zealand's breaks. Beyond the frame aims to inspire and inform future surf photographers and ocean lovers being your backstage pass to detailed insights from the minds behind stunning surf shots.

Zolli Visuals Gallery

What Did Your Childhood Look Like?

I grew up quite far from the coast (in New Zealand terms anyway) but my parents were always quite big on the idea of us kids getting fresh air so we got loaded in the car most weekends to find the nearest, sunniest piece of coastline.

What Came First, Surfing or Photography?

Definitely photography. I got given my first camera when I was about 9, it ran on AA batteries and you could pretty much see the individual pixels, but it went with me everywhere. Surfing itself, well that's a work in progress!

How Did You Get Into Surf Photography?

Our closest piece of coast happens to be Raglan which is quite conveniently home to a fairly renowned break and great surfers, so when my elder sister got her first telephoto lens I took the liberty of 'borrowing' it quite frequently. Eventually she got so sick of me stealing her gear that my parents got me my first DSLR and a 70-300 lens for my 13th birthday which meant my mum quite often ended up driving me to Raglan after school whenever the waves were good and that's how I got hooked.

Where Do You Normally Shoot?

Normally out at Raglan on the points. Otherwise if it's flat there I like to head up the Coromandel, there's a few super nice spots up that way.

Where Do You Shoot? Water or Land?

Land only at the moment, but a water housing is very high on the shopping list so hopefully I'll get into doing that at some point!

What Makes The Perfect Image?

I love images that show a spot from a unique perspective and that captures the whole atmosphere of the place. Something that makes that wave or spot different to anywhere else, rather than being focused solely on the wave.

How Did You Become So Involved In The Surf Scene?

The majority of my shots are out of Raglan, and the locals are always keen to see photos of their spot going off.

Do You Have A Favourite Photographer That Has Inspired You?

There is so many it's hard to narrow down! Chris Burkard is a favourite for sure, he's a master of capturing the whole story in a image. Cait Miers is also a favourite, I took one of her courses in my last year of school and I love what she's doing for the female surf scene.

What's Your Biggest Challenge To Overcome When Shooting?

Shooting from land, I can struggle to come up with new compositions that are different to anything I've taken before. The more I shoot from land the more I want to experiment with water photography.

Zolli's Equipment List

Camera & Lenses

Zolli shoots with her Sony A7 IV attached with a selection of these three lenses: 200-600 mm, 24-105 mm, 70-300 mm.

Zolli's Favourite Shot Taken

This is one of my favourite shots, purely because of how much of a fluke it was. We'd travelled about 4 hours to this one off spot to meet some friends of ours from further down the country, not even realising it had the potential to get good waves. We found these caves in the cliffs along the beach and I noticed that some half decent waves had started rolling in. All I had with me was my grandpa's film camera from the 60's, so I sat in there for ages waiting for the right moment and then this little a-frame rolls in, perfectly framed in between each wall of the cave. I had no idea if I'd managed to capture it until about a month later when I got around to getting the film developed , the rest of the pictures looked didn't make the cut but I was quite stoked to see this one!

Photo By Zolli Visuals, Shot On Her Grandpa's Film Camera

Zolli's Future Plans

I'm quite keen to explore more South Island surf spots, especially down Dunedin way. At some point I'd love to publish a photo book but that's a long way off.

Follow @zolli.visuals

You can keep up to date with Zolli's new projects and recent captures on her Instagram, however the best place to view her work is here where you can purchase her prints.

Do You Want To Be Involved In Beyond The Frame?

Are you a surf photographer wanting your story told? You may be our next Beyond The Frame feature! Please get in touch with us over email so we can get a conversation going:

Photo By Zolli Visuals

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