As a proud, native photographer of Medford, Oregon I am so excited to showcase some of my favorite Southern Oregon photography locations from here in my own backyard!
It was only after traveling both domestic and overseas for about 8 years that I returned home to visit family and realized the natural beauty that I had been taking for granted for much of my life. This is one of the many travel lessons I learned; to appreciate the beauty of home!
Ever since, I have made it my priority as a landscape photographer to properly explore and capture this amazing part of the world that I call home.
For the sake of brevity, this photography guide will not go into detail on every Southern Oregon photography location you could visit. However, I invite you to reach out directly or post in the comments below if you have any questions about anything you’ve seen.
You can also read all about the travel photography equipment that was used for these photos.
Disclosure: In order to keep providing you with free content, this post likely contains affiliate links. If you make a booking or purchase through one of these links we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. So a HUGE thank you to you if you click one of these links 🙂
Southern Oregon Photography Locations: Jackson County
While this is not exactly the most photogenic region of Southern Oregon for landscape photography, there are a few hidden gems if you know where to look!
You won’t find Wimer on any other Southern Oregon photography blogs, and you may not even find it on a map! However, Wimer is the tiny town where I grew up, and I find its old barns, scenic farmland, and remote nature to be incredibly photo-worthy.
Table Rock is a geographic formation that has been named for its resemblance to, well, a table. It is visible from the I5 freeway that runs from north to south, or from anywhere in the surrounding region that has a clear view of the horizon. It is also a very popular hiking destination for locals.
Because this is such a prominent feature, Table Rock has become something of an icon for Medford photographers and Southern Oregonians.
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My favorite little town in all of Oregon, Jacksonville is a photographer’s dream for shooting family portraits, weddings, and even a bit of street photography. The history has been incredibly well-preserved, with exposed brick walls lining Main Street and old-fashioned signage throughout.
If you are a wine lover, Jacksonville is also home to a handful of amazing and beautiful vineyards!
Wildlife Images Animal Rehabilitation and Education Center
One of my absolute favorite places for wildlife photography in Oregon, and one of the most ethical organizations as well! Over the years, I have created a genuine relationship with the amazing people at Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center, who rescue injured animals and re-release them back into the wild.
The animals that cannot be re-released, usually due to humans trying to keep them as pets, are kept as educational ambassadors. While this may seem sad, the facility gives them considerable living space, takes loving care of them, and provides us with a chance to photograph these beautiful local residents.
Another iconic sight when driving the I5 through Southern Oregon is Mt. Mcloughlin. There are many viewpoints of this mountain, but I wanted to capture something special. A good friend and fellow photographer, Mark Unger of Sky Lakes Media, brought me to a remote location to capture the Milky Way as it descended into Mt Mcloughlin.
An interesting phenomenon occurred the night of this photo, as smoke from a wildfire blew into the valley. This smoke created a sort of ceiling that blocked the bright glow of the city from polluting the night sky with excess light. The result was one of my favorite images in my Southern Oregon photography gallery.
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Mill Creek Falls
The unfortunate thing about Mill Creek Falls is that there is no official trail to the falls, and the view from a distance does not do give scale to its true size. While I’ve never taken a photo that I would claim as a Southern Oregon Photography trophy-winner, it fits perfectly into an itinerary including many other waterfalls in Southern Oregon.
Avenue of the Giant Boulders
Much like Mill Creek Falls, the Avenue of the Giant Boulders is worth a stop if you are passing through on your way to Crater Lake. While impressive, I would struggle to make a special trip to see the giant boulders.
Near the small but charming town of Prospect lives a small waterfall with no signage; Pearsony Falls. I don’t know what it is about this place, but I find the scene at Pearsony to be absolutely enchanting – especially in the fall! It is often missed by travelers as there is no sign in the parking lot indicating its proximity. Perhaps it is this feeling of secrecy that adds to its appeal.
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Southern Oregon Photography Locations: Curry County
Curry County spans the Southern Oregon coastline and is perhaps the most beautiful stretch of coast in North America for landscape photographers. The savage, rocky sea stacks, dramatic cliffs, and rugged nature all come together to create an unbeatable destination for photographing seascapes.
If you’re exploring the coast, then queue up our guide to photographing the Southern Oregon Coast.
Samuel H. Boardman State Park
When I talk about the beauty of Curry County, I am really talking about the stretch of coast that falls in the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor.
It is hard to overstate how beautiful this stretch of the Oregon coast truly is. It is perhaps the best place on the west coast for sunset photography, but somehow even more amazing for night photography! Keep scrolling to find some of my favorite Southern Oregon images from this stretch of coast.
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Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park
Ok, so this is technically in California, but you cannot get to the Oregon coast from Southern Oregon without passing through this incredible place.
Redwood trees are the tallest in the world, and walking amongst them is an experience that has to be lived to understand. Still, I like to think these photos do the ancient giants some justice.
Southern Oregon Photography Locations: Klamath County
Klamath County is best known for being home to Oregon’s only national park, Crater Lake. This is absolutely the highlight of the county… in fact, this may be the highlight of the entire state! What visitors may not realize, however, is how much beauty there is to enjoy along the way.
National Creek Falls
Not far from the turnoff for Crater Lake is a thundering waterfall nestled into the Southern Oregon wilderness. National Creek Falls is a great place for waterfall photography as long as you are visiting outside of the winter months. However, traveling here can be quite treacherous with icy conditions.
Crater Lake National Park
With a reputation as one of the official 7 Wonders of Oregon, Crater Lake National Park is undoubtedly the best place for photography in Southern Oregon. Each day, each season, each sunset, every moment spent at Crater Lake feels like pure magic.
I have photographed here just under 10 times now and have captured its spirit in a different way each time. It is easily one of the best national parks in the USA.
If you visit Crater Lake from May-October, you have a good chance of being able to drive the Rim Road and see the park in its entirety. Additionally, during the summer more of the trails are open so you’ll have the chance to explore some of the best Crater Lake hikes.
However, only the south entrance is open during the winter months, which is my favorite time to visit. The purity of the impossibly white snow surrounding the bluest lake in Oregon creates a scene too spectacular for words.
Crater Lake is also a fantastic place for astrophotography and Milky Way photography in Oregon! While there is a bit of light pollution that comes from the city of Bend in the distance, you won’t believe the number of stars you’ll see!
Southern Oregon Photography Locations: Douglas County
The northernmost county that I would still consider Southern Oregon is Douglas County. This region is home to the Umpqua National Forest, which boasts some of the most impressive and breathtaking waterfalls in all of Oregon.
If you are interested in learning more about these waterfalls and/or embarking on a Southern Oregon photography road trip through the area, you will definitely be interested in checking out our Waterfalls of Southern Oregon photography guide.
With apologies to the famous Multnomah Falls in Northern Oregon, Toketee Falls may be my favorite in all of Oregon. The first time I saw a photo of it, I thought the water was cascading through a fossilized tree! The giant columnar basalt frames the falls and scene in a way that I have never seen before. This volcanic aesthetic, surrounded by the endless green of the Umpqua forest, come together to form one spectacular frame.
Umpqua Hot Springs
After a day of shooting waterfalls, what could be better than relaxing in a natural hot tub?! Umpqua Hot Springs (also commonly referred to as Toketee Hot Springs) has unfortunately become very popular but it deserves its reputation. Not only is this the place to enjoy a soak, but it is one of the most beautiful Southern Oregon photography locations as well!
A word of warning: Visitors like to get naked here, so be mindful of this if you wish to do any portrait photography here. My advice is to get there early to have the pools to yourself for a moment!
A small but beautiful waterfall, Clearwater Falls is named for its crystal clear waters… actually, it’s named that because it is located on the Clearwater River, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence. This is a great spot for a picnic as it requires no hike and has tables with a view!
The distinction of “tallest waterfall in Southern Oregon” belongs to Watson Falls. While this one requires a bit more hiking than most of the others mentioned here, the hike itself is as beautiful as the destination. Stroll through the lush moss and greenery as you follow the stream up and up, arriving at a massive 272-foot drop!
Such an impressive and large scene is actually fairly difficult to capture in just a frame. Still, I would recommend this location to anyone traveling with Southern Oregon photography in mind!
Another small but notable waterfall on the Southern Oregon waterfall loop is Whitehorse Falls. Realistically, this is a pretty tiny cascade that would barely qualify as a waterfall. What I love about this place is the composition that exists here, using two fallen trees to form a perfect X that frames the flowing water perfectly.
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Camera Gear for Photographing Southern Oregon
While it is possible to capture some great photos nowadays with smartphones, for the best possible photos you may want to consider a few key pieces of photography gear:
- Camera: We use the Sony a7riii and have been in love with it ever since the first photo we took with it. However, for beginners you may wish to consider an entry level DSLR. This will allow you to start getting to grips with manual settings and decide whether photography is something you enjoy enough to invest in.
- Lens: The lens we use most frequently is the Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS as the zoom lens allows for the most diversity. We also often use the Laowa 15mm F2 for shots that require a wider angle.
- Tripod: A tripod is essential if you are shooting in low light, at night or for any other long exposure photography. When traveling, we use the Manfrotto Be Free as it’s lightweight and easy to carry on longer hikes. For times when we require something more stable, we use the Artcise Carbon Fiber Tripod.
- Filters: A Circular Polarizing (CPL) filter (CPL) or Neutral Density (ND) filter are very useful for allowing slower shutter speeds and for cutting glare on reflective surfaces, helping to bring out the colors. The best CPL and ND filters we have found are the quartz line from Polar Pro.
Other Guides to Oregon & Nearby Regions
As must be clear by now, there are too many things to do in Oregon for one guide to list them all with much detail. Below are some of the other travel guides for Oregon and the nearby regions of Northern California and Washington.
If you are planning on visiting any of these other locations, you will discover far more in-depth descriptions and information for planning in these guides.
- All the Best Things to Do in Oregon: An Ultimate Guide
- Top 25 State Parks in Oregon
- The Official 7 Wonders of Oregon Ultimate Guide
- The Most Magical Waterfalls in Oregon
- Southern Oregon Coast Guide
- Waterfalls of Southern Oregon Complete Guide
- Top 15 Places to Visit in Oregon
- Top 10 Places to Visit on the Oregon Coast
- Silver Falls State Park & Trail of Ten Falls Complete Guide
- The Complete Thor’s Well Guide
- The Complete Painted Hills of Oregon Guide
Northern California Guides
- The Ultimate NorCal Road Trip Itinerary Guide
- What to see in Shasta-Trinity National Forest
- Complete Guide to Burney Falls in NorCal
- Yosemite Itineraries: How to Spend 1-3 Days in Yosemite NP
- Yosemite Photography Guide
- Yosemite Sunrise Guide
- The Ultimate Guide to Yosemite Firefall
Washington & PNW Guides
Finally, feel free to browse our Oregon professional photography gallery for prints and inspiration.
Final Thoughts on Southern Oregon Photography Locations
I truly hope you have found this showcase of Southern Oregon photography enjoyable, inspiring, and/or helpful in planning a trip of your own. When I am residing in the US, I love any excuse to meet up for a photoshoot if you happen to be passing through and would like to meet up! Just contact us however you like and we can set something up!
I also offer photography classes and workshops in the Southern Oregon region, as well as via Skype. If you are interested in improving and find our work inspired, please shoot us an email and we can discuss further.
If you would like any more info on any of the Southern Oregon photography locations listed above, please leave a comment below!