Lucy at Arlington Garden courtesy of cbarnesphotography
I know a secret spot
Paradise by the sea
We'll find a place to park
That's kinda cool after dark
Still Cruisin' - Beach Boys
I've been asked where "Le Secret Spot" is and for those of you that live in Los Angeles, you're in luck because it's pretty much down the street from where you live.
Arlington Garden is in Pasadena. The address is 235 Arlington Drive. Pasadena, CA 91105. Click on the link to see official pictures from their website. The park is an amazing little mediterranean-styled garden that has lots to offer photographers of any type. Personally I love the rustic and country-esque feel of this garden. It's really a little slice of heaven!
Are you allowed to shoot at Arlington Garden? Heck yes! But be respectful and don't bring a whole crew there. Keep it small and quiet so you don't bother other park patrons. Commercial photography is NOT allowed. You are only allowed to take still images (no video) for non-commercial purposes. Make sure your models are properly clothed since there are occasionally children running around. After all this is a family park. Also please stay on the marked pathways so you don't trample the wildflowers and other flora. The caretakers for the garden spend a lot of time making sure the garden stays beautiful. Speaking of the caretakers please say hi to them (Charlie and Betty McKenney) when you meet them! They're often up and about in the garden.
Should you run into any trouble during your visit to Arlington Garden you can cite city ordinance for allowing you to take pictures there. Assuming you haven't broken the law (nudity, commercial photography, videography, smoking, etc.) then you have every right to be there. I have personally called Ariel Penn and Tacy over at the Pasadena Film Permit Department and have confirmed that there is no need for film permits for still photography for non-commercial purposes, assuming you are following Pasadena city ordinance for public parks. Arlington Garden is a public park in Pasadena that abides by the same municipal code that governs all public parks in Pasadena. If anyone tells you that you're not allowed to shoot there or tries to impede your photography at Arlington Garden, you can basically call the police and have them removed from the premises for being a disruption.
If you need to call Ariel Penn at the Pasadena Film Office her number is (626) 744-3964. She can confirm everything that I've said here. Again, given that you haven't broken any of the rules, there's no reason why you can't shoot non-commercial still photography with clothed models at Arlington Garden.
Happy shooting! :)
P.S. Here's the municipal code regarding commercial/professional photography
5.16.250 - Motion pictures and still photography.
A. Every person engaged in the business of commercial motion picture filming or videotaping shall pay a business license tax of $612.45 per day on city-owned property or $480.84 per day on privately owned property. However, the tax may be waived by the city manager or designee if the filming activity is for a nonprofit corporation or the filming activity is for a student film. This tax shall be in addition to any charges imposed by the city for services rendered in connection with the taking of motion pictures.
B. Notwithstanding the above requirements, the business license tax on commercial motion pictures and videotaping production occurring between ten days and 30 days on a nonresidentially zoned property shall not exceed $4,808.40 in business license tax.
C. Every person engaged in the business of professional photographing, commercial CD-ROM or interactive technology camera testing shall pay a business license tax of $40.25 per day.
D. The business license taxes pursuant to this section shall be indexed per Section 1.08.060
E. No person shall be required to be licensed for the purpose of commercial filming of the Tournament of Roses Parade, competitive athletic events, journalism or other similar events of a public nature, nor to pay a business license tax therefor.
(Ord. 6672 § 1, 1996: Ord. 6113 § 18, 1985; Ord. 5378 § 1, 1978; Ord. 5154 § 1, 1974; Ord. 5084 § 10 (part), 1972; Ord. 5072 § 1, 1972; Ord. 4747 § 4.07(F), 1966)