Land and Literature Curriculum


The environment, land

  • Scientists are beginning to warn of the coming global environmental crisis. Potentially, this will affect your life and the lives of your children. The course should give you some awareness of this issue.
  • Without forcing you to give up your precious weekend time, the course should encourage you to become involved with organizations that mālama our local environment in some way.
  • The Hawaiian environment is unique, but under attack on many, many fronts. The semester should give you just a little awareness of some of the environmental threats to Hawai‘i, and why they are important to you.
  • The semester should allow you to develop a sense of place by encouraging you to write about and learn about your home.


It is very, very hard to be objective, to just write about or draw what is in front you, without adding in your personal colors. This is a valuable skill in art, in science, and in many other fields. The semester should

  • in the land journal give you some practice in neutral, objective description.
  • give you practice in responding to what you see in more personal ways, through poetry, journal entries and art.

Indigenous culture

To give us some context, we look at a few authors with a national and global perspective, such as Lopez and Dillard, but we look in particular at Hawaiian literature and orature because they show us a way of living in the environment that is ma‘a to this place, to Hawai‘i. The semester should

  • give you some vocabulary, though your research, that describes this place and the plants and creatures that evolved here. The first step in understanding something is learning its name.
  • expose you to some works of modern literature and traditional orature that offer us glimpses into other, non-western ways of looking at (and living in) our environment.
  • introduce you, through class speakers and extra credit opportunities, to people who are working to reclaim both land and traditional ways of looking at land.

Sentences / style

A major focus of your senior year is learning to write in a mature, sophisticated style. This includes occasional use of long sentences. The semester is designed to

  • expose you to a wide variety of individual styles, including some that make use of more complex sentence patterns than you might be used to using yourself.
  • give you some practice in composing longer sentences through exercises such as sentence combining and modeling.


A major focus of your senior year is learning to do a research paper. If you are going to go to college, you need this skill. This semester should

  • remind you of some things you probably already know about note taking, bibliography format, citations, plagiarism, and other aspects of research papers.
  • give you some practice in looking up information in books, magazines, newspapers and on-line and in writing up the results of your research.
  • give you lots of practice in writing in a neutral, objective mode.


Another focus of your senior year is learning to identify the reasons an author wrote a particular piece, the intended audience and the author’s attitude towards the subject. This is a challenging goal in this course because we focus on nonfiction and traditional orature (literature that was first passed down orally, not in a written form). Nevertheless, the semester should

  • expose you to a variety of literature and orature, among which are some pieces that allow us to look at an author’s intent, intended audience, and tone.
  • encourage you to be aware of your intended audience and tone in your own writing in your land journals and formal papers.


Course Syllabus

How to write with grace and mana

Land Journal Directions and Assignments


Research Notes Assignment
Black Elk / Rediscovery Analysis

How to register for and use Turnitin

Photo II Curriculum

In the first week of each quarter, fill out the form below:

Q1 Project Commit

Q2 Project Commit

Q3 Project Commit

Q4 Project Commit

Here is some information that will help you fill out the Project Commit forms:

READ ME FIRST: How to sign in to KS Google Docs

READ ME FIRST: How to resize / resample images

Photo II projects are due every other week – alternating with exercises

Turn in major projects every two weeks. Due dates will be on the whiteboard. Count on four assignments each quarter, three of which you can decide yourself. See the mandatory project below. Assignments are due by the end of the day (3:30 p.m.) on the due date.

Photo II Projects: what to turn in every two weeks

  1. Two contact sheets, each containing at least 20 printable exposures. If you are using a digital camera, a “roll” is 40 images. The images printed or scanned for the assignment should be circled with a silver, red, green or blue sharpie (not a black one).
  2. Four 8X10 (or larger) prints.
  3. One Photo II analysis of your best print. Access the analysis below, fill it out and then print it and turn it in ON TOP of your work, so that it is the first page of your notebook every time you turn in a project.


Photo II project guidelines and grades

Creativity, uniqueness, print quality all count, of course. Check the Visual Art Department grading rubric posted in the room for specific guidelines. Projects that contain related images will probably receive higher grades than projects that consist of random, unrelated images. In other words, the two contact sheets you turn in every other week should reveal some kind of plan, some forethought, an intent, a focus. Your two contact sheets need to hang together in some way — without meaningless repetition. Make the effort to plan new projects every two weeks, unless you are sure that you can continue to repeat a previous project and still create fresh, exciting images. Check here for project suggestions:

Some project suggestions

One project is mandatory each semester

ONE project related to Hawaiian culture is mandatory, either in the first or the second quarter. One component of your final exam involves a reflection on this project. Select one of the options below or propose an equivalent project:

  • Environmental portrait of a kupuna, along with a short interview with the person about cultural values in his or her life. For the purposes of this assignment, a Kupuna is someone over 60 years old. Kupuna portrait sample
  • Cultural architecture. Photograph a structure that reflects/embodies Hawaiian culture. Structures might include heiau, lo‘i or a Hawaiian church. Think of the chapel or the structure by the Main Gate. Cultural architecture sample
  • A place that is considered “Hawaiian” such as Miloli’i, Nanakuli, etc. Hawaiian community sample
  • A cultural event related in some way to Hawaiian culture, such as a makahiki celebration, halau performance or practice, etc. Your images need to reveal the cultural basis of the event in a visually interesting way.
  • The Hawaiian treasure hunt: a series of images that document your search for elements of ancestral Hawaiian culture in our daily surroundings. Take images, if possible, that contrast Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian cultures, or show ancestral Hawaiian culture changed or even distorted by non-Hawaiian cultures. Hint: Waikïkï is the best place to shoot this assignment. Think of store-window “tikis” (ki‘i akua).
  • A wahi kupuna (celebrated place) from the book Sites of O’ahu

Exercises are due every two weeks, alternating with projects

  1. Flash photography
  2. A portrait lit by a single-point light source
  3. Blur
  4. The effect of color filters on black-and-white film, as discussed in chapter 9 of the text
  5. Pinhole images using the zero image camera or a pinhole body cap
  6. Flash II
  7. Digital montage that assembles three or more images
  8. Push developing

If you have completed exercises 1-4, feel free to turn in the alternate exercises listed below



Photo I Curriculum








Between the first “aha moment” — the recognition of a potential image — and the final click of the shutter, photography happens in three stages:

1) composition,

2) lighting,

3) focus.

These are not in reality separate stages, of course. When you first notice a potential shot, you begin to think of a suitable composition. Should it be horizontal? Vertical? Should the visual center (the main subject, center of interest) be in the center? To the center right or lower left or upper right?

At the same time you notice a potential image, you also begin to notice existing lighting conditions. If the sun is high in the sky, should you wait for a cloud? If it is low in the sky, how should you position yourself relative to your subject? With the sun directly behind you, hitting the subject head-on? With the sun to your left or right, hitting from the side? And in using your light meter, exactly what light should you measure? The brightest area? The darkest? Those decisions also affect composition.

And as you think of composition and lighting, you also think of where you should focus the camera. If you are taking a portrait, this isn’t an issue; it’s the face. However, sometimes you have choices to make about what needs to be sharp and what can be fuzzy. (Later, you will be able to control what parts of the image are out of focus, and how out of focus they are. ) The point is that each element affects the other two: in reality, it’s one seamless (but complex) process, not three separate ones.



Most of the time, you are interested in just one person or object – the main reason for taking the photograph. Sometimes we call that the center of interest. However, it’s easy to forget that you are responsible for the entire rectangle (what we call the “frame”). It’s your job to arrange that frame in such a way that people (viewers) first notice what you want them to notice, without other objects competing for their attention or getting in the way.  Some general guidelines:

  • Avoid placing the most important area (center of interest) exactly in the center of your image.
  • Vary the shooting angle.
  • Use vertical composition every so often.
  • Take several shots of each image and make slight changes to the composition of each one.
  • Place objects close to the camera (in the foreground) to create a sense of depth or to frame the subject.
  • Take responsibility for the entire rectangle, not just the one object or person that interests you.
  • Make use of your background; make it  work for you.

Roll #1: Match the format to the image

Roll #2: Create the Illusion of Depth


A photograph records light reflected off surfaces. It’s really all about light. Most of the time, however, we don’t notice the subtle qualities of light. We don’t notice how small changes in angle (time of day), diffusion (clouds / no clouds) can totally alter the final image. The next two assignments ask you to plan your images around lighting conditions — which is what every photographer has to do.

  • Double check that your light meter setting (ISO) matches the film in the camera.
  • When the light changes or when you move to a new place, take a new light meter reading.
  • Just say no: if the light meter tells you that no image can be exposed without dropping the shutter speed below 1/125 second, don’t waste your film (or use a tripod).
  • Sometimes your light meter lies to you. Even if the needle or the dot is in the middle, your reading may be off because of a bright light or the sky in the background.

Roll #3: Silhouettes

Roll #4: Diffused, “Cloudy  Bright” Light


You have a subject, you’ve decided on the ideal composition and lighting conditions, and now you just need to put the camera up to your face and press the shutter release. But wait! There’s one more aspect of the shot to consider. What is going to be in focus (sharp) and what is going to be out of focus (fuzzy)? And for the fuzzy objects,  how fuzzy do you want them to appear? Some of these issues need to wait until later in the semester, but for now you need to decide what to focus on.

  • Shutter speeds of 1/125 and below can result in camera shake (fuzzy pictures).
  • Every so often, try some shots with out-of-focus objects in the foreground or background.
  • Portraits often benefit from out-of-focus / fuzzy backgrounds, just to help draw attention to the subject’s face.
  • Some shots, especially sports shots, benefit from deliberately-blurred balls or bats or legs – whatever is moving the fastest.
  • Landscape images (either urban or natural) often benefit from the sharpest details with the maximum depth of field.

Roll #5: Play with Focus

Roll #6: Portraits

STOP! READ ME FIRST:  That Vision Thing



Composition is the art of getting the viewer to notice what you noticed when you took the picture. Actually, there’s more. It’s the art of getting the viewer to feel and think what you felt and thought when you took the picture. That’s hard. Composition also means directing attention towards your center of interest and away from things that might compete with the center of interest. Below are a couple of assignments that ask you to make use of just a few tools from the (mental) composition toolbox that every photographer carries.

Roll #7: The Rule of Thirds

Roll #8: Patterns


Roll #9: Diffused Side Light

Roll #10: Studio Roll


Roll #11: Blurred Action

Roll #12: Texture



How to resize / resample images

Sponge Activities (extra credit)