Remembering Rebecca Jackrel: Wildlife Photographer and Friend

Rebecca Jackrel

Rebecca Jackrel Having Fun Behind the Camera

It is with pain in my heart and tears in my eyes that I write this memoriam of my friend Rebecca Jackrel who recently lost her battle with cancer this week. Rebecca was a driven and dedicated wildlife photographer who prided herself in recent years raising awareness to the plight of the Ethiopian Wolf via the Ethiopian Wolf Project with Will Burrard-Lucas . Quite the world traveler her trips always centered around conservation wildlife photography of subjects spanning the Albatrosses of Midway, Polar Bears of Churchill and Svalbard, Spirit Bears of Vancouver Island, Manatees of Florida, Sea Otters of California or marine mammals & sea life along the California coast.

To say Rebecca loved animals would be an understatement as her respect and love of animals was at the core of her being. She worked as veterinary technician before catching the photography bug and regularly volunteered with her husband at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California. She shared her home with a variety of furry creatures including dogs, cats and even a lost hamster that literally walked into their house. There is little she would not do for an animal, wild or domestic, in need of care and/or protection.

Rebecca at Tea Kettle Junction, Death Valley National Park

Rebecca at Tea Kettle Junction, Death Valley NP

I first met Rebecca at the Photochrome camera club in San Francisco back around 2004/5. She knew of me from my writing and images shared online and was in the cutest way smitten and shy in approaching me. Initially I thought I might have a stalker on my hands, but she quickly passed the non-stalker test and quickly became a good friend. It was at this time I got a glimpse of her generosity as she invited me to join her photographing the Wave in Arizona. In the years to follow she was incredibly generous in sharing her gear and most meaningful to me her support & heart felt believe in me.  Very selfishly I mourn the passing of Rebecca because she was the rarest of friends who had a heartfelt interest in my work and believe in my artistic & professional development. Her support meant the world to me. I will forever treasure the time we spent together in the field and running workshops to photograph Sea Otters in Monterey and landscapes in Death Valley.

While Rebecca was never one to toot her own horn I will share her most recent and prized accomplishment she shared with me before she passed… it was her Certificate of Congressional Recognition for her work to study, document and defend the Ethiopian wolf.

Rebecca you will forever be in my heart. I will miss you more than words can describe.

You can view Rebecca Jackrel photography on her Photoshelter site.


Jim Goldstein is a professional photographer and author, based out of the San Francisco bay area in California, who specializes in outdoor and nature photography. Passionate about nature and the environment Jim infuses elements of the natural world into his commercial, editorial and fine art work. For more follow Jim on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Subscribe
  1. Mark

    Such a sad loss Jim. I wish I had the opportunity to meet Rebecca in person. I at least got a glimpse into her amazing spirit and strength through her blog, Facebook, and of course her photographs. For that, I am grateful.

  2. Russ Bishop

    A beautiful tribute, Jim. I knew she wasn’t well, but her spirit and positive attitude masked the battle she was fighting. That spirit will live on in her work. Rest in peace, Rebecca.

  3. G Dan Mitchell

    Jim, I met Rebecca once, and you were the catalyst. I came to your home for some photography related reason and you invited me to tag along to a party where I met a number of folks — but Rebecca is the one I remember. I only met her in the “real world” once, but I’ve followed her story and her photography online since with respect and admiration.

  4. Rachel Cohen

    I’m so very sad Jim! I have been friends with Rebecca for only around four years, but she was such an inspiration to me and a kind and wonderful soul!
    You wrote a lovely tribute to her, she will truly be missed!

  5. jimgoldstein

    Thanks Rachel. Hold a good thought for her family.

  6. jimgoldstein

    Thanks G Dan. That was a fun time. She certainly remembered you from that time as well.

  7. jimgoldstein

    Thanks Russ. She was quite the optimist through her ordeal. She was quite an inspiration. I’m not sure how she did it.

  8. jimgoldstein

    Thanks for the kind words Mark.

  9. Noel

    Sorry for your loss Jim. Excellent tribute to Rebecca!

  10. Chris Stone

    Does anyone know what shift she was on at the Marine Mammal Center. .? I have been a volunteer there for over 14 years…Sat. Day topside.

  11. Irina Matache

    Rebecca Jackrel completely a devoted natural life picture taker !! It was extremely tragic !!