Here are a few of my favorite locations to shoot near and some examples of pictures I've gotten at each place. While you are totally welcome to pick any of these locations, I am always open to ideas if you have a special location in mind or know of a pretty spot that I might not know of.
**Locations may vary throughout the year as seasons change (greener in spring, more yellow in summer, etc.)
Creekside is one of my favorite places to shoot. Located off of Balfour Rd. near the newer Safeway, the park is surrounded by trails that offer a variety of pretty backdrops. It also offers shade on hot days. The colors do change throughout the year, and the trail can get busy, but I love the variety within short walking distances.
Black Diamond Mines
Black Diamond Mine is a beautiful location near Pittsburg with grassy fields, hills, and some fun areas to explore. Some of the cooler areas do require a bit of hiking and the park does close earlier in fall (around 7PM currently). This is fine since it gets dark earlier once the sun goes behind the hills.
Note: there may be a $5 parking fee on holidays and weekends.
Field Near Balfour by Heritage High
This field is off of Balfour and can be accessed through either American Ave. or Mountain View Dr. It's just a small field that is in between Heritage High and Deer Ridge neighborhood, but has some pretty grassy areas, has mount diablo in the background, and has some broken down brick fences. It's easy to get to, but may require walking through some grass. Also varies in color during time of year.
Located near the California Theatre in Downtown Pittsburg, this location is easy to get to and has a lot of fun brick walls, some foliage, and some empty lots that make for cool backgrounds. There are a lot of murals and this location offers more of an urban feel.
Downtown Brentwood is very cute and easy to get to. There are a variety of wooden walls, cool structures, some plant areas, and a short walk away are some brick walls and the movie theatre.
Markham Nature Park (in concord)
Markham Nature Park is a cute park hidden near a residential area in Concord. The park makes for beautiful backdrops, including wooden bridges, grassy fields, lots of trees, and sometimes creeks that have rock paths over them. One of the newer locations I've discovered, but I can tell it's going to be a favorite.
Mt. Diablo - Regency Drive (near clayton)
While there are a lot of areas near Mt. Diablo that make beautiful backdrops, this is one of my favorites. This location does require more hiking. The parking is on a street in a residential area and has a slightly steep downhill to get to the trail which can be a bit challenging, but there are creeks, sometimes flowers, lots of trails and Mt. Diablo in the background.
Grizzly Peak (Berkeley)
Grizzly Peak has a beautiful view overlooking the Bay. Parking is along Grizzly Peak Dr. in a small lot which can be tough to find, but after a short hike to this open area, there are a lot of pretty views. There is grass, some logs to climb around on, and some trails around the area to move around and find fun backdrops.
While these locations listed are the main areas I am aware of, if you would like to shoot closer to San Francisco or try to find something else locally, I can help brainstorm ideas as well. Let me know if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org