|A few comments from those who have worked with Focus Adventures, Karen and Joel Schulman:
(For the most recent comments, scroll down the page. Thanks.)
"Karen Schulman and Focus Adventures combine talents that are unique in photo education...the ability to provide strong technical information and artistic inspiration at the same time. Karen's courses are a complete education for the mind and soul."
Frank Varney, Director of Photography, The Art Institute of Colorado
"I want to express our appreciation for your presentation of the Handcoloring Seminar...you truly know how to stimulate and motivate your students."
David F. Drake, Department Coordinator, Cypress College
"Thank you for sharing your expertise, enthusiasm and words of wisdom...your anecdotes and life experiences were very inspirational."
Janie Swartz Peck, Associate Professor, English/Communications, Colorado Mountain College
"Thank you, Karen, for agreeing to be interviewed for the 2001 Photographer's Market; ...the insights and knowledge you shared will help countless readers."
Donna Poehner, Editor, 2001 Photographer's Market
"You are a wonderful teacher because you are demanding and supportive. You ask us to reach higher and discover ourselves as well as learn basics...your workshop was invaluable!"
"This workshop has helped me realize exciting artistic possibilities and makes me want to live to be one hundred so I can continue taking photographs as long as possible. I only wish I had taken this workshop when I was younger...it was a fantastic experience!"
"I cannot believe it has been an entire month since we left for Ireland...You are a natural teacher and just yield insight to others without being intimidating."
"Karen's teaching style is terrific - meets my learning style needs. This has been one of the best learning experiences of my life....I can't wait to take another class!"
"Thank you for changing my photography and my life. I will never be the same!"
"You are at once mentor and friend, your compliments are high praise and I thrive on your special encouragement and nurturing."
"Your devotion to teaching is quite apparent..I'm thankful for the serendipitous discovery of Focus Adventures."
"Thank you, Karen for taking the time to share your gift with so many people. You taught me to look beyond what I thought I was capable of."
"To capture fragments of time and slices of life on film is to forever freeze those moments on this earth. Thank you, Karen, for helping me to capture them."
"Through all of the years and all of my travels, this has been one of the best trips ever."
"Now with this latest class with Karen, I am beginning to recognize the emergence of my personal vision in photography...it is a challenge, and I have always loved challenges! I am learning more about photography and myself in the process."
"In all I learned from your class, I find that I know less. My desire to capture that photo without explanation, and my attempt of self exploration have grown to boundaries that I could not have imagined earlier. You have taught me to see in terms of composure and composition. I truly look forward to attending many more of your classes."
"Thanks for a wonderful day (hand coloring workshop). I learned more from you in one day than I did in two former six-week long classes!"
"I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful (hand coloring) workshop. I felt as if I was spending a day with long time friends. I had so much fun and learned a great deal. You do a wonderful job!"
"I wanted to send a note and tell you how much I enjoyed the (hand coloring) class and meeting you on Saturday. I haven't stopped talking about it. I've already been to Michael's (art supply store) twice."
"Karen and Joel - Thank you so much for sharing so generously your remarkable talents...and even more importantly for the friendship I truly treasure!"
"Thank you for sharing your God given talents...not only your beautiful photos, but your enthusiasm and passion for photography are so inspirational."
"Karen is the ultimate professional. She puts her heart and soul into her work, making these sessions absolutely amazing. Her workshops are a great value - the best money I have ever spent."
"Thanks for the great experience in Steamboat. I learned a lot about
"I thoroughly enjoyed the positive energy, enthusiasm and joy that you and Ron shared with all of us in Ireland. Thank you!"
"Thank you for sharing your love of photography and your creativity."
"Thanks again for the trip of my lifetime!"
"Your energy and spirit, along with your ability in handling group dynamics and communications made the ten days (in Ireland) one of the best I have experienced."
"The tour (in Ireland) with you and Ron was great. It was truly inspirational as well as motivational. You are so encouragng and I need that!"
"I can't believe I've neglected my creative side for so long. Thank you for bringing it back...I was so impressed with your teaching styles (during the Steamboat, CO Workshop), your technical support and your way of seeing...I've taken many "renowned" photo workshops before, and your was without a doubt, my absolute favorite and the best! The range of photo opportunities blew me away...Thank you again for sharing your passion for photography and for re-igniting mine."
"What a good group we had in the Galápagos! You did an amazing job of keeping everyone happy."
"Thank you, Karen, for all of your enthusiastic instruction and energetic leadership (in Ecuador & the Galápagos). It was an amazing experience and I feel lucky to have been a part of it all."
"I am of course, learning more and more about my camera but, on top of just learning about the mechanics of the camera I am enjoying learning to see the art that I can do with my camera.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you .I just wanted to say that you have turned me into a fabulous photographer!... I love you and I had the best time taking pictures in France. Were back now I have hundreds of photos and many more good shots than bad ones. Im so pleased. I tried to keep just a few things in mind: be responsible for whats in the frame; if I think Im close enough, get closer; and take one non-literal shot for every literal... these are the best vacation shots Ive ever taken."
" I really enjoyed meeting and photographing the glories of the Emerald Isle with all of you (participants). My sincere and special thanks to Karen for all of the photo information....and to Olcan for such a beautiful introduction to his spectacular corner of the world."
"I want to let you know how much I'm enjoying your workshop. It's forcing me to learn the things I've been so conveniently putting off. You really are a born teacher. It's an honor to witness your mastery of the art of gentle persuasion. You offer unrelenting support and encouragement. It is difficult to leave your studio without being super-charged!"
"I loved this class and really feel it has peaked my interest and helped me see things I could do with a camera which I would never have thought of on my own. So for that I thank you and all the other participants. It truly was mind boggling to see the talent and imaginative ways of using a camera. Very inspiring!"
"Thanks, Karen, for a great class. You have inspired me to see the world in more detail. I appreciate so much more every day even without my camera."
"Thanks for the motivation and forcing me to step back and see where my heart lies. I absolutely enjoyed the class."
"I have to say when I mention that I am taking a class from you, so many people, too numerous to mention, have been touched by your teaching, your passion for what you do, and what you have brought out in them. Great Work!
"Nice to hear from you, Karen... great collection of photos! Thanks! Great trip (Magical Morocco) making new friends and with wonderful memories to treasure"
"Karen is terrific -- always engaged, always available, great energy, great sense of humor. She has an amazing ability to get people through crises when they occur... and makes things flow smoothly even over the rough spots. She's diplomatic but not condescending, encouraging, enthusiastic. Altogether a terrific leader and instructor."
"It was a delight to be on the trip (Magical Morocco) with you and to "resonate" on photography, etc. Your range of photographic techniques and tools is quite amazing! Your images are so redolent with your personality and life spirit."
"Karen has taught me to be me though the projection of a lens. She sees with her eyes, her heart and her spirit. She is drawn to the world in many ways and I am just lucky to be part of that canvas."
"Thank you so much for the Photographing into Your Soul class. I felt that I was among some of the most talented people I've ever come across. As a result of the class format, assignments and work produced by all of the students, we were all able to grow, it was obvious...I did indeed achieve all of the goals I set at the beginning of the class. I truly hope to be in another of your classes, soon."
"I had been a photographer for 35 years, and thought I was pretty good, when I took Karen's workshop. I can tell you without exaggeration that my photography, in particular my "seeing" of the world around me, improved 100% after my wonderful week with Karen. She is a natural teacher, and as great as this video is, it can't fully convey what a warm and inspiring person she is. If you have a chance to take a workshop or go on a tour with Karen, take it!!"
"I think of you often. Without that week with you and Joel (photography workshop in Steamboat Springs, CO) I doubt that I would have moved into digital photography with the confidence that I did."
"Pam and I agree that this vacation (Ecuador & the Galapagos) was the best we have ever done. We found that all the people and experiences far exceeded our wildest expectations. We had a super group of fellow travelers. I thought Karen did a great job both as a photo instructor and a champion to bring our group together. Jacque (of Strabo Tours) is a fantastic person to work with. She kept us up to date on all our travel plans."
Pam & Bruce
"Karen, you are an inspiration to me and everyone else...I love photography!"
"Know that I still draw on all you, your course content, and fellow Focus Adventures 'class mates shared with me, everytime I go CLICK!
"We'll definitely encourage members of our photo club and keep them informed of your workshops. It's been fabulous!"
"Thanks for a wonderful well-planned & executed workshop. You've introduced me to new insights and a desire to further my creative photography experience!"
"Karen, thank you so much for the wonderful experience your photographic workshop and tour gave me. You opened my eyes to a whole new way of viewing photography. I learned more from you about photography, in the 4 1/2 hours we spent together, than I have in over 50 years of "taking pictures..."
Ray J. Oleson
I had the most wonderful trip (Magical Morocco) of my lifetime. It was fabulous. Karen is an inspiring and gifted teacher and your local guide is amazing. His knowledge and wisdom and heart cannot be overstated. Thank you for planning this fabulous experience. I'm definitely a Strabo fan"
Karen is inspiring. She works hard and provides plenty of individual attention. She is an excellent teacher. Your local guides (Magical Morocco) are wonderful people and very professional and helpful."
I always learn so much from Karen, not only photography but new views on life itself. Instruction amount was about right, and Karen makes it known that she is always available for more. We could not have asked for a better guide (Ismail Bourkadi, Magical Morocco). He took care of everything before we could even ask."
"Karen was certainly the highlight. I learned more from her on this trip (Magical Morocco) than on all of the others I have attended. Ismail was also wonderful, a true gentleman and wonderful guide.This was the most congenial group that I have ever been with, it was a wonderful tour.
"Karen has the patience of a saint. She is an excellent photography teacher. There are no unimportant questions. She teaches by example and also direct one on one teaching. I would recommend Karen to anyone who seriously wants to learn digital photography."
"I have worked with Karen for 10 years with great results. She has been an inspiring teacher and mentor. I would recommend her to anyone wanting to develop their creativity."
Terry Riley, DDS
"Karen was my first experience with a professional photographer. She instilled a love for photography in me from our initial 1/2 day instructional outing in Steamboat. A week's workshop in Steamboat and then a workshop in Cozumel followed. Karen's professionalism in her manner and her knowledge of photography are unparallelled. I heartily endorse her workshops and her talent as a photographic artist and instructor."
"...Karen is a tremendous teacher. She has the ability and the patience to get you to "see" better than any other instructors I've had. Very honest in her critiques and at ease explaining the technical aspects of photography. All of the workshops were well planned, with set course criteria, photo assignments and plenty of group activities. Whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned professional there is something for you in one of Karen's workshops. I only wish I were still living in Steamboat to take more, more often...If you ever have an opportunity to participate in one of Focus Adventures tours, take it. I went on the Galápagos-Ecuador trip. The whole trip was dedicated to photographic fun. Extremely well planned and very unique."
"I want to thank you and Joel for all of your help and interest you took in all of the workshop participants. I was apprehensive at the start, never having participated in an intensive photography workshop before (wasn't sure I could keep up with everyone else). Both you and Joel made me feel very comfortable. I appreciate the encouraging words you had for me about my work. I am anxious to go out shooting soon again, even to shoot flowers. I hope to work with you both again."
"What could be better than traveling to exciting places, camera in hand, and a wonderful support system to guide you when necessary. Karen clearly understands the needs of the "individual" photographer. Perfection!" (Magical Morocco)
"Karen obviously has a passion for and tremendous skill in the photographic arts. But what makes her workshops extraordinary is her ability to bring out and develop the unique creative vision of each of her workshop participants. Most learning programs in photography center around equipment and technique, but Karen's approach begins and ends in the connection between the heart, the mind and the eye. I can whole heartedly recommend Karen as a fantastic teacher and creative guide."
"It has been a few weeks since the workshop (Photography & the Creative Spirit) and I learned a lot. I have started to look at a view and see more then just a pretty snapshot. I would never have considered multiple exposures or toning and HDR before the workshop. The (new at least to me) techniques are now used regularly. I look forward to my next experience with Karen and her crew!"
"I truly enjoyed my experience and all the people I met in Steamboat Springs (Photography & the Creative Spirit). It's something I get to relive every time I show my pictures to friends and family.Thanks for making it such a rewarding experience!"
"Your leadership and the person that you are is very special and rare... Thanks for helping ignite my inspiration, Karen!"
"I have had several instructors and very few true senseis -- people who care about people, take the time to see how they learn, love photography and treasure the gift of sharing their knowledge, like you do."
"Thanks, Karen for making this class (Creative iPhoneography) such a quality experience. I truly sense the amount of time and research that you offered and appreciate you so much. Thank you for inviting me to participate in such a creative adventure."
"Thanks again for a great photography outing around Steamboat Springs. What we saw was exactly what I wanted to capture."
"I wanted to extend a very sincere thank you for sharing all that you have with Erin and the class and me. I loved letting the creative side of myself out to play. ...You really have a gift for teaching not only photography but also life balance. I look forward to another class in the future."
"So much fun today. I learned a lot...Haven't had so much fun in a long time!
"As I decompress from the experience in Steamboat Springs (Photography & the Creative Spirit) I want to tell you how very much I enjoyed the workshop. Having started to travel and take photography workshops back in 1992, I have attended a number of good workshops. Yours, however, was not only good information and instruction, it was by far the most exhilarating workshop I have ever attended...I have found that it is rare to have both the teaching ability and the ability to stimulate creative work. You have done that so well that I am sure I will see you on another adventure with Focus. Thanks for everything!"
"Karen, thanks for the Creative iPhoneography class. It was fun and informative!"
"Thanks for a great day yesterday. I really enjoyed our time together (Local Photo Tour in Steamboat) and learned so much in such a short time. I'm enthusiastic about
"Just when I thought there was not much more to learn, I attended a Focus Adventures workshop and realized how much more this wonderful teacher, Karen Schulman, could find in me (Photographing Into Your Soul)."
"I have done many workshops with Karen and they are always fun and inspiring! A big part of the experience is my fellow travelers. I find that people who are photographically inclined are the best. So it was great to meet all of you and thanks for a fun 6 weeks (Photographing Into Your Soul)!"
"Thank you all for a most instructive, rewarding, insightful and FUN few weeks (Photographing Into Your Soul)."
"I have downloaded some of your favorite photo apps and I am so excited to start tutoring myself on each one of these and others too. I did myself a big favor by attending your class...the exposure to your information was absolutely worth every penny spent... I can't wait to learn more and more. I am so excited I hardly need any sleep (Introduction to Creative iPhoneography, Sarasota)."
"Thanks for a great class with wonderfully talented and obsessed iphonographers. Last night's party was a great ending. Thank Joel for his information so that we can move to the next step in the process. And a big thanks to you for opening my eyes to all the possibilities. (Creative iPhoneography)"
"I just wanted to say thank you again for sharing your wealth of knowledge. I am so excited to work with all of the amazing apps and to share some of them with my students. I am truly inspired to create and for that I will be forever grateful. (Creative iPhoneography)"
"My husband Kevin and daughter Kellen planned a spring break holiday in Steamboat, Colorado with our close friends. Sadly, I was the only one unable to ski due to a knee injury. So my husband searched for alternate adventures for me. Luckily he found Karen Schulman, of Focus Adventures, a professional photographer who teaches novices just how to capture the beauty of our surroundings with the click of an iPhone. My 13 year-old daughter and I spent over five hours with Karen, exploring the secrets of Steamboat beyond the ski resort and learning about all sorts of fabulous photo apps that work with our iPhone camera and iPad. We had such a wonderful day with nature, the lovely locals of Steamboat and surrounding towns and with Karen. She was fun, interesting, patient and most importantly, creative. I would highly recommend taking a rest day or two from the slopes or the mountain bike trail and add another dimension to your stay."
"Thanks so much for your time and expertise last week! I really enjoyed the morning with you and learned A LOT! I've never really been one to enjoy taking nature pictures and after last Tuesday (Local Photo Tour in Steamboat), That's all I want to do now!"
Wendy S. Cadena
"I really enjoyed your iPhoneography class on Saturday. I learned so much and am inspired to keep going and learning. I also loved getting to meet new people in my 'part-time town' -- that's a big part of what makes Steamboat so special."
"I thoroughly enjoyed myself (Creative iPhoneography 1-day class) and can hardly wait to put everything I learned to use. I look forward to taking another one of your classes."
"Karen, my time with you was one the most wonderful experiences I have ever had. I look at life now through the eyes of a camera. I see art everywhere! I am constantly exploring new apps and you would not believe how many flower pics I take now! Thank you for everything. You seriously changed my life!"
"Focus Ranch is an ideal, picturesque location...Karen and Joni were always available to assist and offered many helpful photo suggestions. Hospitality at the ranch is beyond excellent!" (Photography & Personal Vision at Focus Ranch)
"Karen, thank you for the great workshop (Photography & Personal Vision at Focus Ranch)...and for the cameraderie you fostered. Terry and Maureen and their staff went out of their way to create a relaxed, hospitable atmosphere...I would highly recommend Focus Ranch to friends!"
"Thank you, Karen! I have already wowed my friends and wife with my new skills. I am very impressed with your ability to transfer that much know how in one class session. I was able to make a fine image out of one that should have been deleted, then tuned it in Painteresque and printed a couple of greeting cards to
"I went on the trip to Bhutan expecting to watch my wife, Lana, the avid photographer, take pictures while I enjoyed touring and learning about an exotic land and people. In truth, it was successful at that level, a rich cultural experience. I was caught by surprise, however, at how much Karen taught me about photography, largely using my iPhone. The root of it was Karen's ability to encourage and inspire, while also providing feedback and constructive advice. I left for Bhutan uninterested in photography. I returned passionately dedicated to becoming a photographer. It certainly has changed how I see. In fact, I believe it has changed my life. I look forward to taking future trips with Karen."
"Thanks for a great class yesterday (Creative iPhoneography 1-day class). As always it was entertaining, educational and enjoyable."
"My daughter, Lydia, and I had a great time and have been having fun playing with our photos! (Creative iPhoneography 1-day class)"
"Thank you for a wonderful day and for inspiring me to be more creative!"
"I had such a great time at the workshop (Creative iPhoneography Weekend)...I was hoping the weekend would spark a sense of fun and creativity in me...and I felt that it did just that. Thanks for everything!"
"I had to let you know how much I enjoyed this workshop!!!!! (Creative iPhoneography Weekend). I was smiling all the way home...I hope to be back in your classes and journeys!"
"I'm feeling so inspired -- thanks to you!!..It (Creative iPhoneography Weekend Workshop) was really great... My positive comments about your workshop (and you!) are very well earned and well deserved. A total delight being your student!"
"I think I learned the most on any photo trip I have been on (Photography & the Creative Spirit in Western Ireland)! I never knew anything about the iPhone photo apps!...I also wanted to thank you for allowing me to work within my physical limitations. I hope to join you on another trip!"
"Fun, learning, beautiful experience with interesting, great photographers (Photography & the Creative Spirit in Western Ireland). Thank you, Karen, for sharing so lovingly your expertise and wisdom, not just of photography, but life and your journey to arrive where you are now."
"Karen, thank you for everything. As I have said before, you are the most generous photographer I have met with your dedication and desire to share information (Ireland and Morocco)."
"I can't thank you and Joel enough for all the work you put into the Cuba trip. I can honestly say that photography took a back seat to the experience with Leonel. Also, your inspiration on multiple imagery was more than appreciated."
"The Cuba trip was absolutely amazing!! Joel and Karen did a great job of balancing our interests (as a photo neophyte couple on "vacation) with those of the more serious photographers in our group. The entire trip was very relaxed with just the right balance of structure, sighseeing and socializing. The entire group got along very well, and our guide, Leonel, was a tremendous resource! Our driver, José could not have been better."
J. and T. Schwall
"What a fabulous balance of our presence as well as great instructional
T. and J. Kelleway
"What a wonderful Ireland trip we had. Thanks for everything you did to make it possible and so enjoyable...all the guides were 10 out of 10. Everyone was a wonderful help. The relationships we forged, particularly with Karen and Joel was the highlight."