Capturing Oregon: Photographing The Rogue River Gorge

May 7, 2012

As a photographer residing in Southern Oregon I often visit the Rogue River, one of Oregon’s most
scenic. The Rogue River Gorge, near Union Creek on Highway 62, is a place that I have photographed
many times. The river cascades into a narrow channel in the volcanic basalt and continues for a couple hundred yards before widening again. It is a place that is powerful, beautiful and visually captivating. Yet it is a very difficult place to photograph. The light can be challenging and it is difficult to frame the scene in a way that simplifies the elements while also communicating the scale and dimension. After photographing the Rogue Gorge numerous times over the last decade I can share a few tips that may prove helpful in capturing the true essence of the place.

  • While any time of year is good, my favorite season to photograph the Rogue Gorge is in fall when autumn color is in the forest and the water flow doesn’t overpower the image.
  • Try to find angles that allow you to see up or down the gorge. This will provide perspective and a sense of scale.
  • Use a wide angle lens to frame an interesting rock or tree in the foreground with the gorge as a background feature.
  • At the viewpoints lean your tripod against the railing to get a better view into the canyon.
  • While requiring a tripod and long exposure times, twilight offers moody soft light that you can’t get during the day. If you are fortunate to be there during a sunrise the scene can be completely transformed.
  • My final tip is one of safety. The river here is very swift and the canyon is deep, so stay on trails, behind the fences and use extreme caution when walking near the river above the gorge.

Editor’s Note: Capturing Oregon” brings you the stories of Oregon photographers as they traverse the state to capture its beauty. To see more of Sean’s photography, visit

About The

Sean Bagshaw
Sean lives in Ashland, Oregon with his wife and two sons. His first career was as a middle school science teacher for 12 years. His photography business evolved after several years of giving slide shows of expeditions to places like Denali, the Andes, Nepal and Tibet. In 2001 he started Outdoor Exposure Photography and later moved to photography full time. Since then his photographs have been sought after for private and commercial collections, won national and international photography awards and have been featured in art shows and galleries. Ever the teacher, Sean shares his passion for landscape photography by leading photography workshops, teaching digital image developing classes and through his series of video tutorials that are available on his website. View his photography at: and