Joni's background as an artist began in the early 1970's when she majored in Art at the University of Vermont with a specialty in Fine Metals (jewelry making). Photography became her main artistic interest in the early 1990's as she furthered her art photography education at Colorado Mountain College and with Focus Adventures. She went on to become course assistant for Focus Adventures summer workshops in Colorado. Joni has also assisted Karen on various international photo tours, including Galápagos, Ecuador; Cozumel, Mexico and Ireland. 

When Joni isn't busy using her camera to create visions of the way she interprets her world, she stays busy with other endeavors including exhibiting her work in Frisco, CO and she is also a licensed dental hygienist.  

Joni's sensitivity to the workshop or tour participant's needs, her knowledge of and creativity with the photographic medium and her great sense of humor make her a welcome addition to any photo program!

To those who are interested in our Photography & the Creative Spirit Workshop in Steamboat Springs, CO, please read on:
Dear Friends,

My name is Joni Potekhen and I have assisted Karen Schulman and Focus Adventures for about fifteen years. 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 Galápagos Islands, Ecuador and Cozumel, Mexico.These are some of my impressions of the Steamboat Summer Workshop. My son and I attended this workshop together and still reflect on all the fun we had and good friends we made that week (not to mention that we came home with awesome photographs)!

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, 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 am always thrilled with the results. 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 technique yields wonderful, unpredictable photos of the horses, riders, bull riding, bronc riding and more. You can certainly do stop action as well. 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 and various ranch animals. 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 detaills.

Another field trip may be to the junkyard 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 mountains and valley that are breathtaking. Sunsets there can be quite incredible as well. One year, I made an entire series of the broken turned out to be very unusual and fun!

The workshop is scheduled in early July to take advantage of the balloon festival weekend and because the wildflowers are usually so pretty and at or near their peak. One 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 workshop participants!

The workshop is a balanced mix of field trips and classroom time to allow you to receive instruction in a class setting with digital image reviews as well as time in the field trying out what you've learned. This gives you an opportunity to experiment with new ideas and techniques. As you download and review your images, we guide you in the editing process. We have found that this format is a GREAT way to learn and you'll be amazed with the images you'll produce! The group is limited to ten to twelve 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 all put together a digital presentation with music combining everyone's selected images. 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 only six days of photography. I always say that this workshop is the highlight of my summer and this will be the seventeenth 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 or e-mail if you have any questions. I can be reached by phone at 970-376-2294; by e-mail at

Thank you for your interest in this special photo workshop. I hope I have sparked your interest and that you will pursue this opportunity to learn and grow with your photograhy. Looking forward to meeting you this summer!


Joni Potekhen

Workshop coordinator,
teaching assistant,
and photo addict.

All images ©Joni A. Potekhen unless noted otherwise.
Return to Steamboat Photo Workshop

Copyright 2011 Focus Adventures