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BDC Knickknacks

When I visit someone’s home, I find it interesting to peruse the books they have on their bookshelves and the knickknacks that they have on display. Because auction photography and the weather have conspired to keep me indoors much of this week, I thought I might share some of the knickknacks that I have on display. In fact, I have an entire display cabinet with, perhaps, a hundred objects — but I will pick only three — both because I do not want to bore you but also because each will tell you something about what makes me tick.

The first set of items constitutes a family heirloom. The book is the complete works of William Shakespeare which belonged to my great-grandfather. His watch together with my great-great-grandfather’s watch chain is in the glass case.

I never knew my great-great-grandfather but I do remember my great-grandfather. He spoiled me because I was the first great-grandchild and the first boy in the family. Of course, at the time I did not know I was being spoiled. For instance, he had one of those old manual typewriters and he would let me play with it — although my sisters and female cousins (they were all female until many years later) were not allowed to touch it.

He also had a few toys like a balancing clown and a wind-up crazy fire truck which I was permitted to play with. There was one other thing that he let me do — I would stand on his lap and drive his big ol’ Buick. I suppose he held onto the steering wheel but since I was probably only three or four, it scared my mom to death.

It was only as an adult that I understood what a great man he was. During his life he had many roles — postman, teacher, businessman, banker, legislator and superintendent of his church’s Sunday School. His house still stands in Showell, Maryland — right next door to his daughter’s house (my grandmother). A few years ago, my mom and I had the privilege of touring the house again — the owner at that time had it on the market — so it was fixed up for sale. It was such fun to see it again on the inside — much as I remembered it — except for furniture and repainting. Both that house and my grandmother’s house (where I was born, by the way) are used now as offices — but at least they still stand and provide good memories.

As you all know, I love Hawai`i. The first time I went to the Islands in the mid-1970’s, when I stepped off the airplane, it felt so warm and welcoming — it was like I was Hawai`ian in a previous life and was returning to my homeland.

Thus I would next like to present the Hawai`ian god Ku. Various sources suggest that Ku together with Hina were the rulers of the ancient people of Hawai`i and are the earliest gods. They are the great ancestral gods of earth and heaven who have general control over the bounty of earth and generations of mankind.

Ku also represents the East, or the sun rising, which indicates morning. The Ancient Hawai`ians worshiped Ku for things such as good fishing, long life, good crops, and family and national prosperity for a whole. Other references suggest that Ku was also the god of war. This figure is a hand-carved reproduction of the (much larger) original which is now in the Musée Royale in Belgium.

After I took the standard studio photo, I experimented with a technique I learned from one of the professional photographers at a National Association of Photoshop Professionals conference. It involves taking multiple photos but moving the primary light source between the shots. Of course, the camera must be stationary on a tripod so that the subject will be in the same position in each shot.

Then in Photoshop, take the red image from one shot, the green from another and the blue from still another — align them correctly. Just for fun, I played with the relative amounts of the red, green and blue images until I got the result shown here — a bit more dramatic image for such an important god.

Last but not least is the trophy for my first hole-in-one (I have shot two in my golfing career). It took place in Austin, Texas — where I was enjoying a long weekend of golf with my good friend John. The course was Forest Creek Golf Club. The hole was #6, a 139 yard par-3. I remember hitting the ball well, landing it on the green and it seemed to roll right to the hole. I said to John, “you know, I think that might have gone in the hole.” Of course, he was skeptical — but when we got to the green, there it was — in the cup! What a great feeling that was — one you never forget. And the best thing was sharing it with a good friend.

Three knickknacks — family & friends, Hawaii, golf — yep, that’s B. David

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com