Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Audubon Society Recognizes Mendocino Coast Resident’s Bird Photography For the Second Year Running

Gail Jackson photographing some of Mendocino County’s coastal beauty [All photographs provided by Gail Jackson]

Mendocino Coast resident Gail Jackson’s bird photography has been recognized by the Audubon Society for the second year in a row in their annual awards. With thousands of submissions to evaluate, Jackson’s homage to the North Coast has caught the eyes of judges and placed her in the upper echelon of America’s amateur bird photographers. 

Jackson’s award-winning shot from this year

This year, Jackson has been recognized for her photograph captured at Manchester State Beach depicting a lone gull walking along a foamy surf. Jackson said the tide was high on that winter day and “most of the smaller shorebirds had flown down the beach to find shelter.” But, one lone gull “seemed to enjoy having the beach mostly to itself.” She proceeded to kneel “in the damp sand to get the right angle hoping I would get the surf in the frame and not my camera.”

Jackson’s photograph of thousands of gulls that won her recognition in 2020

In 2020, Jackson was recognized for her shot of an assortment of birds including Western Gulls clustered on the sands of Gualala Point Regional Park. That day, Jackson said, “a friend had called me to say he’d spotted whales along the shore.” Instead of whales, Jackson found “a thousand gulls on a long, narrow sandbar.” She was mesmerized by “their colorful beaks and feet [that] glowed from the low light on the sun.”

Jackson said she has an affinity for photographing gulls. She said that the bird’s beauty is often overlooked. 

Jackson is a daughter of the Mendocino County coast, living back and forth between Fort Bragg and Gualala since her birth. At the heart of her artistic vision is seeking the “natural treasures [that] surround us on the coast” hoping to capture  “something golden or special.”

Gail Jackson

Jackson remembered beginning her photographer career in middle school with a cardboard camera. In high school, she experimented with dark rooms and 35 mm. 

She revisited her photography hobby when her boys were young and people “began to encourage me saying I had a real eye for it.” Jackson attributes the North Coast’s beauty and wildlife to her photography’s charm.

Jackson said she got her DSLR in 2017 and “began taking my photography to the next level.” She said she has dabbled in portraits of humans but has found the natural world to be her preferred subject. Her photography centers around her love of animals and the outdoors.

For people interested in checking out Jackson’s photography, her work can be found on Facebook, Instagram, or her very own website. Her photography can also be seen in Fort Bragg’s North Coast Artist Gallery at 362 N Main Street.



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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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