"That was the day that changed my photography because I realized how dangerous it is and how many times I've gotten injured already from that," he told A Plus.
Four years later, Croman –– a Hawaiian resident –– is still trying to get a shot of perfect beach waves, but he's a lot safer about it. These days, he uses a drone to capture aerial shots of beaches and other locations wherever he goes.
"Once I got a drone, I looked at photography different," he said. "I tried to look at different angles at higher altitudes and seeing how I could capture different shots by going up versus staying on the ground. I started thinking vertically."
With drone technology changing so often, Croman took it upon himself to learn how to use a drone, flying it around to take picture with a long exposure and operate at slow shutter speeds, meaning that the camera lens is open for a while.
Croman said that there are many photographers who inspire him, but he puts more of his energy into being a "unique" and "creative artist" in order to bring something different to the table.
"I want my pictures to speak to people," he said. "It doesn't have to be what I intentionally wanted the story to be."
Despite wanting to bring in new perspectives into his work, Croman still appreciates constructive criticism in order to improve his craft.
"With any kind of art, a lot of people … they tiptoe around it," he said. "[But my wife] tells it how it is. So she helps me a lot by just giving me an honest, straightforward response to my photos."
When he's not working on his own photography or doing any commercial work, Croman is teaching a class or photography workshop. In the past, he's taught at the University of Hawaii and the Hawaii Drone Academy. His next teaching venture will be a private high school where he'll teach students how to use drones for a week. Although teaching younger students will be new for him, his message to them won't.
"When I started doing photography [over a decade ago], it was my voice, it was a way for me to get my emotions out," he said. "It was a way for me to speak, I guess. I try to encourage students to do the same thing."
Croman said he can't predict where drone photography will go in the future, but he does expect to see smaller ones that have a longer battery life at some point. For now, he's more focused on improving his skills.
"The only way I feel [you can improve as a photographer is to just] keep doing it," he said. "To keep shooting, to keep pushing yourself."