An avid photographer for more than 17 years, Joni's background as an artist originated in art and jewelry making. She studied photography at Colorado Mountain College and with Focus Adventures in the early 1990's going on to become Karen's course assistant for Colorado and International workshops and tours. When she is not capturing beautiful scenery and exotic locales with her camera, she is the owner of Twin Season Vacations, a property management company in Summit County, Colorado. Joni's sensitivity to students' needs, her knowledge of the photographic medium and her great sense of humor make her a welcome addition to any photo program!
An open letter to those who may be interested in our Steamboat Photo Workshop:
Dear Friends,

My name is Joni Potekhen, and I have assisted Karen Schulman and Focus Adventures for about ten years now. I started as one of Karen's students and enjoyed the photo workshops so much that I became her assistant and good friend.

We have traveled together to Ireland, the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador; Cozumel, Mexico; and to Wyoming to photograph wild horses. I am writing to let you know that we have just a few openings for the "Steamboat in the Summertime" photo workshop which takes place in July. It was this workshop that I first took as a participant, that got me hooked on the workshop format. My son and I attended the workshop together and still reflect on all the fun we had and good friends we made that week (not to mention the awesome photographs we came home with)!

If you have an interest in attending this workshop, you may wish to read on, as I will give you a little overview of the schedule and activities. We begin on Saturday, July 9th, with a classroom session to introduce everyone and for us to get a feel for where you are in your photographic interests and knowledge. We prepare the class for the first field trip that evening at the Pro Rodeo in Steamboat Springs. Although I've been to it MANY times, I always get really neat shots. Prior to going to the rodeo that night, we teach you how to do "slow shutter speed with flash" images and give you tips on what you'll see and the photo possibilities. The slow shutter speed shots yield wonderful, unpredictable photos of the horses, riders, bull riding, bronk riding and more. You can certainly do "straight shots" too! The people photography there is great also...lots of little "cowboys and cowgirls", cowboy competitors and lots of detail photos of the colorful clothing, rodeo clowns, beautiful saddles, and more.

Although we vary the many field trips throughout the six days, the schedule is similar each year. We usually go to a local ranch with rustic barns, often livestock such as cows, horses, pigs, chickens and sometimes ducks and geese or peacocks. What we see is dependent on which location we are invited to. We go to the Hot Air Balloon Launch on Sunday morning...great for "big picture photos" with all the balloons ascending, people getting ready on the ground and colorful detail shots.

Another field trip may be to the junk yard with taillights that look like eyes, flowers growing out of windshields, cool reflections, rows of colorful car doors, and views all around of the surrounding moauntains and valley that are breathtaking. If we go in the evening, sunsets there can be quite incredible. Last year, I made an entire series of photos with close-up and macro photos of the broken turned out to be very unusual and fun!

On one of the field trips we generally go to the top of Rabbit Ears Pass to a beautiful lake with GORGEOUS wildflowers!! I have used many of these photos for greeting cards and "Colorful Colorado" collages. The workshop is scheduled in early July to take advantage of the balloon festival weekend and because the flowers are usually so pretty and at or near their peak. Last year, while we were photographing at the lake, a fisherman came with his canoe and made a great subject for all of the photographers. For a little while, I convinced a couple of the participants that we had arranged for the fisherman to come and be our subject, but in reality, neat things like that seem to occur naturally for our workshops!

The workshop is a balanced mix of field trips and classroom time to allow you to receive instruction in a class setting with slide presentations (this year we will have digital image presentations), as well as time in the field trying out what you've learned, and giving you time to experiment with new ideas & techniques. As you download and review your digital images, we teach you how to edit your work, and do helpful reviews as an entire class. We have found that this format is a GREAT way to learn and you'll be amazed with the photos you'll produce! I would also emphasize that this workshop will fit YOUR level of learning...from beginner to advanced. The group is limited to eight or nine participants, which allows us to work with you on a one-on-one basis in the classroom and in the field.

At the end of the week, we (you) put together a digital show as a group (to music), combining everyone's work. We invite guests who we have met during the workshop week, serve a few munchies and make a party-like atmosphere out of it! It really knocks your socks off to see the outstanding photographs that have come from six days of photography. I always say that this workshop is the highlight of my summer and this will be the ninth year I've done this one with never gets old!

If you've read this far, I appreciate your time and I'm guessing this means you may be interested in our workshop! This letter is written from my enthusiasm and my feelings for this program coming through and I would be glad to receive your call if you have any questions. I can be reached on my 800-toll free number (800-544-8418). You can also call Karen if you prefer - 970-879-2244.

Thank you for your inquiry or expression of interest in a photo workshop in the past. I hope I have sparked your interest and that you will pursue this workshop opportunity. Hope to get the chance to meet you this summer!


Joni Potekhen

Workshop coordinator,
teaching assistant,
and photo addict.

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