Passion for nature aids cover photo winner
When Becky Portwood learned that one of her photos would grace the cover of the 2017 Fall Mountain Traveler magazine, it was like a dream come true.
“I was ecstatic,” she said. “It made my day.”
She had previously entered the photo contest for the summer edition, and a couple of her pictures were included inside the magazine. But to garner the cover spot was the holy grail.
“This was very cool,” she said.
Portwood’s winning shot, taken at Tallulah Gorge, shows the trees burnished in late-autumn glory as kayakers navigate the rapids far below.
In a way, the scene reflects Portwood’s motivation for relocating here from Atlanta 37 years ago and settling (with her husband Larry) on the White County/Habersham line, near the Chattahoochee River.
“Nature photography is my passion,” she said.
Portwood became interested in art as a teenager, dabbling in painting, charcoal drawings, and photography. The latter recaptured her attention in adulthood, after hand surgery made it more difficult to work in some of the other media.
Portwood is a retired teacher, having worked 17 years in the Lumpkin County schools and then 11 years in Habersham.
During part of her career in education, she was a media specialist, which involved taking pictures at all school-related events, from pep rallies to Special Olympics to homecoming ceremonies.
“I gained a tremendous amount of experience in that role,” she said.
Now, she enjoys photographing weddings, family gatherings, even pet portraits. But she always goes back to her love of the natural world, which complements her other hobbies, including gardening and hiking.
Her skill at capturing nature scenes also led Northeast Georgia Medical Center to create large-scale prints of two of her photos, which now hang on the walls of the new hospital in Braselton.
Portwood said she’s proud that thousands of people will be able to see her photos at the hospital, and the same is true for the Mountain Traveler, which is distributed at tourist sites throughout Northeast Georgia.
“I feel very honored,” she said.