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Why the signs say you can't take photos at Sahuaro Ranch, Glendale, Arizona

One of my favorite places in the world is just a few blocks from me - the Sahuaro Ranch (yes, it's misspelled that way), which is just north of Glendale Community College, between Peoria and Olive and 59th and 63rd Avenues. I've been there more times than I can count, and I'm always up for another visit. It's one of the "hidden gems" of the Phoenix area. I love to takes pictures of the historic buildings, the rose garden, the beautiful palm trees. But if you've seen the signs saying that you aren't allowed to take photos, and panicked, you may have misunderstood. I'll see if I can put your mind at ease, and not worry about taking photos there, and not worry about me taking photos.

They mean commercial photography. And it's pretty much true of doing commercial photography anywhere outside of private property, or a studio. Back in the '90s, when I worked as a Graphic Designer for the Marketing Department of Bank One, I had the chance to spend a fair amount of time around commercial photographers. These were among the top photographers in town, and they knew what to do. They got permission, they got permits. So if they set up their cameras, and tripods, and had their models and props all over the place, they had gotten the OK beforehand, from either the venue or the city.

Peacock at the Sahuaro Ranch in the 1940s, Glendale, Arizona. Yes, they're still there. Well, their descendants. And yes, you can take a photo of them.

The Foreman's House at the Sahuaro Ranch, Glendale, Arizona.

The pecan orchard at the Sahuaro Ranch, Glendale, Arizona.

Since the Sahuaro Ranch is a public park, it's open to anyone. You can walk your dog there, go smell the roses, or just enjoy its beauty. Its upkeep is paid for by the City of Glendale. It's for the citizens. Yes, commercial photographers can use it, but they need permission. It's not as if they're going to frighten the peacocks with their cameras, it's just that a place like that could easily become overrun by commercial photographers. And, if you follow me here, they if they got out of control, commercial photographers could fill up the park with all of their stuff, probably driving their trucks in to haul equipment, and just generally get in the way of the most important people - average citizens.

So go ahead and take photos at Sahuaro Ranch. Do a selfie with your big old head in front of a historic building. Take pictures of the peacocks. I like taking pictures of my dog. Get some pics of the rose garden in bloom in January to annoy your friends who live back east. It's your park, enjoy it!

See you there.

Sahuaro Ranch (then called Bartlett Ranch) in 1908. It's now within the city limits of Glendale.

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