There are a wide variety of photogenic sites around the San Francisco bay area, each with their own micro climate and access challenges. The fog may be in or out, it may be cloudy in one area and sunny just a mile away, the surf may be up or flat, the traffic to that site may be insurmountable. Before I drive or hike somewhere to take pictures, I often check the conditions via the many web cams located around the bay area. Here is a list of active web cams I find useful. Some cameras allow you to take control to pan and zoom the scene.
SanFranciscoBay.com has the most complete collection I have found to-date.
SFGate and CBS5.com have their own similar collections.
But there are more:
Controlable "Alcatraz" cam which is actually from Sausalito.
SurfLine.com links to all available cameras pointed at the ocean in addition to listing surf conditions. Explore this site to find reports and surf cams from around the world. this link takes you to Central California.
Hi-Def San Francisco (pictured above) monitors the bay and skyline from Sausalito, tracking ships and offering time lapse movies of interesting days.
SamCam at Sam's Chowder House in Princeton Harbor will give you an idea of the weather conditions in Half Moon Bay.
For traffic conditions, I check SFGate's traffic page and 511.org for a live map of drive time and highway speeds.
I also monitor the Bay Area Air Quality Management District looking for clues to air clarity.
That's a start. I'll list more as I find them and l'll link this post for easy access on the side of this blog.