12 Best California photography locations of 2009

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Discover our favorite photo spots of 2009.

I started to build this website in January of 2009 with the purpose of documenting California’s incredible diversity of photographic jewels and to help you get the most out of your visit. It quickly became obvious to me, that I have enough material for years to come. California is one of the most diverse states in the Union.  In this post I want to share your favorite locations (most read) as well as my favorite locations. Hopefully, this will also help you new readers to find your way around.

The easiest way for navigation is through the table of contents or the maps. After just one year, the table of contents is already getting large. Try the maps to hone in on a certain location that interests you and to find out what you can see there. To see what you missed or to recap last year, here are some of our favorites:

Our favorite places


Monarch Butterflies

Many of us loathe the winter months, since they are allegedly grey. Add a touch of color by visiting the Monarch Grove Sanctuary. Countless monarch butterflies hibernate in this spot, making it one of the most fascinating and most interesting sights this time of the year (my log files agree).


Yosemite Firefall

During the last two months of February, you can visit another natural phenomenon only found in California, a natural “firefall.” The unique lighting conditions and water from the snow melt create the Yosemite Firefall.


The famous San Francisco fog can make excellent photographs, but if you are chasing grand vistas, it can get in your way. Amazingly, the fog is worse during the summer months, as cold air and hot air mix. March would thus be a good time for a visit to San Francisco, while avoiding the crowds and the fog. The Marin Headlands are my favorite place for San Francisco skyline and Golden Gate photography. Almost nobody knows of this place: Little Known Views of Marine Headlands.


Desert Gold Wildflowers in Death Valley

During late March and early April the desert comes to live. Wildflowers bloom in a landscape that seems devoid of any life during most parts of the year. Adding dots of color to an already colorful landscape, you cannot go wrong with a trip to the deserts in early April. Timing is everything: Wildflowers in Death Valley


Whiskeytown Falls

May is a good time to go waterfallin’. The snow melt fills the falls, the vegetation has recovered from the winter and I usually cannot wait to get out into nature for some serious hiking. A nice trip to take is the Whiskeytown Falls hike.


Bristlecone Pine

The snowmelt is still going on in the higher elevations, while the sun already scorches Central Valley and Southern California. It is time to escape the heat into the Sierra Nevada, California’s rooftop, for some high altitude chills. The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is located above 10,000 feet and offers a comfortable chill besides being a unique alien place and my absolute favorite location.


Salt Point State Park

By now most of the grass will have turned brown except for the mountains and the coast. Temperatures near the coast always stay comfortable year round, which is the second reason you should visit Salt Point State Park. The first reason is the superb photographic value the alien looking tafoni formations offer you.


San Francisco Farmers  Market

Keeping with the chilling theme, you should consider San Francisco again. The city by the bay keeps a comfortable temperature in summer and holds the most photographic value of all cities in California. Cool off at the Ferry Building Farmers Market, get a cold drink and hone your street shooting skills all at the same time.


Collapsed Building with scenic backdrop

The summer comes to an end, which is a good time to visit the Northern Sierra Nevada. Have you ever considered tracking down some old mining camps? One of the most photogenic is Chemung Mine. The old mill and weathered buildings offer countless options for your creativity.


Fall Foliage in McGee Canyon

Late September and early October are best for fall foliage peeping. Last October I took the chance and hiked up McGee Canyon. The amount of color and the scenic value of this canyon, which is often just a side note to Bishop Creek canyon in most books, took me by surprise.


Mulholland Drive

I usually try to avoid the summer heat in Los Angeles. The concrete desert burns hot during the summer months, but it becomes a pleasant retreat from the rainier north during the winter. Website visitors like to read about the Viewpoint on Mulholland Drive. This pleasant drive is removed from the bustling city and offers great views. A good choice if the giant city makes you feel slightly uncomfortable.


San Francisco Christmas Lights

How about a Christmas light walking tour of San Francisco? See and photograph the skillful decorations as San Francisco puts on a shine for Christmas.

See you again

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  1. Posted 2009/12/31 at 21:08 | Permalink

    A nice way to close the year… We’re in 2010 already… Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

  2. james
    Posted 2010/01/02 at 11:23 | Permalink

    Seems you have researched a lot for this conclusion. great work .

  3. Posted 2010/01/04 at 12:50 | Permalink

    Happy New Year! Keep up the great work in 2010!

  4. Posted 2010/01/05 at 06:07 | Permalink

    I’m packing my bags! Happy New Year, Andre, I look forward to another year of your gorgeous photos. I didn’t realize you had been doing this only a year. I’d love to see those butterflies.

  5. Posted 2010/01/08 at 11:37 | Permalink

    What a year it was, Andre! It’s a big state and you certainly made your way around and in the process shared some wonderful locations, tips and images. Keep up the great work and I look froward to that book.

    And great to hook up with you on FB. Looks like you’re busy on Twitter too which I have avoided thus far.

  6. Posted 2010/01/26 at 19:32 | Permalink

    Thanks for your kind words everyone. I appreciate it!
    I am slowly starting to comprehend Twitter a little better. It’s fun to participate and share ideas there.

  7. Posted 2010/05/05 at 10:16 | Permalink

    great site! i will definitely be back.. All the best!

  8. Posted 2010/12/13 at 19:23 | Permalink

    Nice blog. I’m photographing Central Coast California scenes currently.

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