During a recent afternoon photoshoot I was in the arboretum on the Stanford Campus in Palo Alto. While taking a photo in the Arizona Garden, I saw a spot of light shining through the trees. The sun was shining off one of the great sphinxes that guard the front entrance to the mausoleum. I raised my iPhone and took the shot you see above, but first there was a lot of post-processing to do…
The tall succulents in the photo are a type of Aloe. I think they were planted prior to 1925 when maintenance on the garden halted. No new plantings were made for over 60 years, but In 1997 a funds were raised and volunteers began to restore the garden. The surviving plants from original garden were preserved and new plants were added to replace those missing from the Stanford’s original design. The garden is beautiful again, especially in spring.
From it’s name, you might expect the garden to focus on the American Southwest, but instead it’s focus is drouth resistant arid zone plants—as in Arid-Zona-Garden. The garden is open to the public daily; weekday parking is scarce, however.
The white sphinx in the photo of is one of a pair that guards the entrance to the Stanford Family Mausoleum. When I reviewed the day’s shots in the Photos app on my Mac, I could barely see the sphinx. The sphinx was bright and sharp but only a very small detail in the background.
By using Photoshop and the Topaz sharpening app on the original iPhone raw image, I was able to zoom in on the sphinx and still preserve details in the foreground—the original shot is shown below.
Isn’t the garden beautiful? Spring, 2022.
The photoshoot was an activity of the Fun-Foto-Group of Avenidas Village an organization of retired people in the Palo Alto area.
On the Web:
- Arid-zona Cactus Garden
- The Stanford Arizona Garden — A Victorian Conceit, by Claudia Brooks.