The Online Archive of California, http://www.oac.cdlib.org/, is a website that provides a database of archive collections found throughout California. In some cases these archive collections are digitized and you can look at the actual documents or photos from home.
For the most part, you conduct a search on a name or phrase and your results will show you information about the collections that contain that search term as well as where the collection is housed and how to access the collection. If the collection is digitized, OAC provides a link for you to access the images.
I used OAC when I was researching my book and occasionally use it to look up people or historical eras. This is a great research tool that may not provide pictures or documents about your ancestor but, if you have kin in California, it can provide you with some historical documents and images for your research.