Many reasons why I like to photograph here.

One of my favorite family photo locations is the San Mateo Central Park Japanese Tea Gardens. Many factors makes this a great spot: (1) easy, free parking, (2) gardeners are excellent at maintaining the place so I'm guaranteed to have lovely backgrounds, (3) shady and sunny options, (4) greenery and human-made features, (5) variety of greenery, (6) never crowded, (7) no entrance fee, (8) giant koi pond makes everyone happy, (9) I know the place so well I can stride around tour-guide like and lead my clients to picturesque spots, (10) is outside of SF and is thus most often SUNNY, (11) too pretty to be bored here, (12) surrounding high wood walls shelter from wind (13) small enough not to get exhausted walking around and (14) proximity of snack/lunch potential for post-shoot munchies.

Of course there are seasonal changes, which affects the light and the shrubbery, but surprises are kept within a familiar range, unlike locations such as in the Golden Gate Park. I've learned to keep track of festivals and such at the GGP, because post say, Outside Lands music fest, the grass will be trampled to an unattractive muddy pulp, with a generous sprinkling of litter.