California is easily photogenic. Just leave town, drive a few hours into the hills, go for a hike on a trail and stop and look once in a while.
Here’s the El Dorado National Forest, off Highway 50 and about 4 hours east of San Francisco. On the east side of the forest is the Desolation Wilderness, which has beautiful lakes in rocky terrain. This is from a hike between Wright’s Lake and Smith Lake, which involves a decent uphill.