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Petting pig and photographing with iPhone camera.

Photo by: Ben Long

The view from Rancho Ojai.

Photo by: Ben Long

I recently had the good fortune of producing a photography title with acclaimed San Francisco photographer, and phenomenal human being, Ben Long (, while on the stunningly gorgeous mountaintop property of Rancho Ojai (, amongst “wild”, well, um…pigs…actually. Now, while my admiration of Ben Long’s genius goes without saying, and the views atop Rancho Ojai are the best in the land – it was those damn pigs that really stole the show, and my heart, in the process. It isn’t everyday when one can proudly attest to shooting live action video with a renowned photographer while 400-pound farm animals chew lovingly on the rubber feet of the camera tripods. I, happily, can boast about this joyous day for the rest of my life, while changing the details of the story at any telling. For example, “Ben’s prescription eyeglasses were a chew toy for a curious pig” becomes, “Ben chased a 600-pound wild pig-like creature through dense, thorny shrubbery for miles in a desperate attempt to retrieve his prescription eyeglasses from the razor-sharp teeth of the beast.” You get where I’m going here. But the truth is, these animals, with “tiny” babies in tow, were inquisitive, yet amiable and intelligent, and funny. Really funny. And, I’ll admit, I was thrilled when Ben sent me the top photo that he “secretly” shot of me snapping a photo on my iPhone of one of the gentle giants. But when I tell the story at parties, I’ll have to make sure to keep the photos well-hidden, lest I spoil the fire-breathing, claw-wielding monster version.

The Philosopher

Samara Iodice is a writer, multimedia producer, and hobby musician living in Southern California. She has created marketing and training productions for such clients as London Business School, the U.S. Navy, Rice University, Southern California Edison, and WellPoint. She is currently employed as a Training Producer for In her spare time she is a self-confessed photography addict and loves walking for miles and miles with her very silly cattle dog, Dublin. She is also a dedicated environmentalist and animal welfare advocate. Find out more at

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Days of yore…

June 2019
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