Patrick Olmsted wins Mountain Traveler cover contest

  • Matt Aiken, The Dahlonega Nugget publisher, hands Patrick Olmsted of Dahlonega, his prize money for winning The Mountain Traveler cover contest. (Submitted photo
    Matt Aiken, The Dahlonega Nugget publisher, hands Patrick Olmsted of Dahlonega, his prize money for winning The Mountain Traveler cover contest. (Submitted photo
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2020 summer edition of The Mountain Traveler

by Kimberly Brown

CNI News Service

With entries of waterfalls, scenic vistas, sunsets and wildflowers, choosing a cover for the 2020 summer edition of The Mountain Traveler was difficult. A photograph of a waterfall on Wildcat Creek near Lake Burton, taken by Patrick Olmsted of Dahlonega, has been chosen for the cover.

About his winning photo, Olmsted said, “It’s not something that the average photographer would want to take a picture of. I had to go into the stream and hike up to the waterfall. The waterfall is down in a ravine.”

A retired educator from Illinois, Olmsted worked as an industrial arts teacher, teaching woodworking, cabinetry and computer assisted drafting. He retired as an assistant principal four years ago.

Olmsted lived in Georgia part-time for 16 years, but moved to Dahlonega permanently when he retired.

“Retirement’s a good thing,” he said. “It gives you a lot more time to do stuff.”

Olmsted has been “a serious photographer” since he retired, though he’s been taking pictures for a long time, he said.

To get a great nature photograph, Olmsted said, “I try to get out and scout locations. I try to always compose my shots. I don’t just go out and shoot. Ninety percent of my landscape shots are shot on a tripod. My wildlife and bird shots, I do those hand-held most of the time.”

To get the blurred effect in the waterfall, he used a neutral density filter, which allows increased exposure time, he said.

Olmsted owns Naked Bear Photography, which focuses on nature and wildlife. When asked where he came up with that name, he said, “We’re in North Georgia, so there’s bears. But I could only draw the outline of a bear. I couldn’t draw all the fur, so it became a ‘naked bear.’”

Naked Bear Photography can be found on Facebook, and Olmsted sells through Fine Art America at

Olmsted said he was “surprised and excited” when he learned he’d won the contest.

“This is helping validate what I’m doing,” he said. “I do a weekly blog for my friends where I post pictures of nature. I get feedback from that, but this is pretty cool.” 

Olmsted received $100 for his winning photograph.

The Mountain Traveler, a full-color regional visitor and travel guide for Northeast Georgia, is published each summer and fall by Community Newspapers, Inc. (CNI). It is a combined effort of the region’s newspapers — The Northeast Georgian, The White County News, The Clayton Tribune, The Dahlonega Nugget and The Toccoa Record. The magazine, on newsstands now, brings readers features and special stories of life in Northeast Georgia.

In an effort to continue focusing on local talent, CNI Regional Publisher Alan NeSmith invited artists and photographers to submit his or her vision of the Northeast Georgia mountains.

“We had more than 50 entries for this contest, and most of them reflected the beauty of Northeast Georgia,” NeSmith said. “Mr. Olmsted’s photograph perfectly captured one of the things travelers and residents alike love to see – our beautiful waterfalls. We know folks in Northeast Georgia will enjoy reading the magazine, as much as we did producing it.”