Photographed by Jeffery Salter for Sports Illustrated Magazine

Photographed by Jeffery Salter for Sports Illustrated Magazine

It was a hot day in Miami.  We set up at 7 am. in a pool at the St. Regis.   My four photo assistants donned swimming shorts.   You won’t believe how hard it is to keep a 3/4 inch Plexiglass table from floating away with one of the world’s top soccer players on it.  Light was harsh, harsh and harsher.  The pressure was on.  Sports Illustrated’s Director of Photography, Brad Smith wanted an Iconic photograph.  Here’s my try.

Mario was cool.  A bit jetlagged from just arriving in Miami from Milan the day before.  He wanted to do the photo shoot and  go to the Mall.  He’s a great athlete, who plays classical piano and met with the Pope, but still only 23.

In the deep in end…photo by Brad Smith/SI

Here are a few shoot details,  a plexiglass table needs plenty of sandbags on the legs otherwise it will definitely try to float away…..  This photo was taken with a Phase One IQ260 digital back (which is wi-fi enabled on a Phase One DF+ camera body) and Profoto lighting – all available from Capture Integration.  The wifi enabled Brad to review images on an iPad as I shot.   As I mentioned earlier we started setting up at 7 a.m. when the light was just amazingly beautiful…however as these things go…we didn’t start shooting until close to noon. The light was extremely contrasty.  However, I was able to capture detail by having a digital camera back which has a dynamic range of 13 stops and  flash syncs at an incredible 1/1600 sec.  The Phase One camera fitted with a 80 mm Schneider-Kreuznach Leaf shutter Lens that allows you to sync your strobes up to 1/1600, with that I toned down the back ground a bit and lit Mario with a Profoto 5ft giant silver umbrella fitted with a Profoto flash head powered by a 7B battery.   Not rocket science, but their was no way in heck that I was going to put anything that needed to be plugged near the pool. Just saying…..

I’ve got to thank my “A” team, Alexander Larson, Redmund Flores, Ray Wadia, Olivia Senghor (groomer),  Kristina Kitchen (prop stylist and plexiglass table wrangler) and Leonard Watson for all their hard work. I hope they enjoyed swimming in a swanky pool with Super Mario!



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  • on August 22, 2013, Saki amafundikwa wrote:


  • on August 22, 2013, jefferysa wrote:

    Thanks brother Saki! Congrats on your recent TED Talk – Saki Mafundikwa: Ingenuity and elegance in ancient African alphabets. You are doing some fantastic work at the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts. Nice to hear from a trail blazer!

  • on August 23, 2013, Brad wrote:

    There is no one who could have done a better job than Jeffery. On this day, in this pool, with this athlete, he was the perfect photographer. It was a great day, his whole crew was terrific, as were the people from AC Milan and the St. Regis Resort. Never been more proud of a cover.


  • on August 24, 2013, jefferysa wrote:

    Thank you Brad. I will make sure my crew knows how pleased you were with them. Glad to been able to give you an image for that cover meeting!!!

    Everyone should please check out’s Brad’s thoughts on the shoot at

  • on August 26, 2013, Nigel Morris wrote:

    I am a big fan of your work. I actually bought the magazine, and went directly to the story to find out who shot the cover. Greetings from Brooklyn, brother.

  • on August 26, 2013, jefferysa wrote:

    Hey Nigel. Thanks for the shout out! I very much appreciate the support. I hope to pick up a copy or two myself. It was a definitely a fun shoot.


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