Spyderco 2018 Production Samples Overview

April 9, 2018

Thank you all for checking out my Spyderco Amsterdam Meet 2018 report! For ease of browsing through all the various new knives, I’ve compiled this thumbnail overview that links to the various posts. I’ve also added this overview to the Prototypes page, where you can find my prototype photos from years past.

 


Parata, Nati Amor, Jim Ankerson/Darrin Sanders


Brouwer, Amalgam, Jonathan McNees


Alistair Phillips, Reinhold Rhino, Paysan


Techno 2, Kevin Smock, Hanan


Lil’ Native Backlock, Mantra 3, ClipiTool Rescue


Respect, ClipiTool Standard, Zoomer

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Spyderco Amsterdam Meet 2017 Photography Practice

February 19, 2017

It’s almost that time of year again, when Spyderco comes to Amsterdam to give us European knifeknuts a look at the new prototypes that are in development in Golden, Colorado, USA, Earth. I hope to be able to create a, hopefully passable, meet report again this year. A few weeks ago, I dusted off my portable photo studio and got in some practice. I usually shoot outside, so I need the practice with this portable indoors set-up.

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Photography for the Amsterdam Meet is an interesting event. It’s a lot of fun and it can get pretty hectic. Spyderco usually brings about 50 prototypes that sail by my table after 80 knifeknuts handled it. With that amazing amount of prototypes, there’s no time for me to change light set-ups, camera settings or to carefully adjust position, distance etc. So I’m aiming for more for a ‘well-oiled production process’ rather than ‘fine-tuning every single shot’. I shoot as much as I can and afterwards I puzzle which prototypes can be published and which cannot. Then I edit and upload them as soon as possible, after attending the IWA trade Show in Germany (i.e. European SHOT Show).

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I’m happy with these results. I definitely see some areas for improvement, but I think they’re better than the photos I took last year. Mind you, I have no illusion about my skills. I’m certainly no @sharpbycoop. Just an amateur enthusiast who loves Spyderco knives. Thanks for watching!

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Spyderco C98 Poliwog
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Spyderco C92TQP Kopa Turqoise
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Spyderco C114 Delica 4 Lightweight Flatground Purple

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Spyderco C81GCMO2 Paramilitary 2 Camo
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Spyderco C54GBN Calypso
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Spyderco Amsterdam Meet 2016 – Practice Photos

February 14, 2016

The Spyderco Amsterdam Meet is almost here again! That means it was time this weekend to unpack my portable photo studio and see if everything still works as it should. This year, I’ve bought two now professional grade light bulbs and a new camera. I’ve noticed that this greatly reduces editing time. I’m still working on some details to improve, but I’m happy with the results of my first session.

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Amsterdam Meet 2015 photo screen test

January 21, 2015

For the upcoming Amsterdam Meet, where I try to take as many photos of the new Spyderco prototypes as I can, I’ve chosen to try a new set-up for my pictures. Here’s a screen-test of some knives using this new set-up. I like it a lot better than my previous ‘cobbled-together rig’, as it’s easier to transport and set-up. I’ve also found that I can remedy some of the flaws I noticed in my previous photo shoots. What do you think, do you like these pictures? Let me know in the comments. If the overall response is positive I’ll use it at the upcoming Amsterdam Meet. Thank you!

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In case it wasn’t clear already, I am not a professional photographer nor a real hobby photographer. Apart from photographing my kids and wife, and the odd scenery during a vacation trip, I have zero interest in the craft. This is why I use a simple mid-range point-and-shoot camera, and I’ve avoided investing in any type of professional grade equipment.

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However, I do enjoy taking photos of knives. I only sought out tips and tricks to create clear pictures of knives. I’ve always tried to present the knives as plain and real as possible. Although I enjoy the artistry and composition of such industry photographers as Ichiro Nagata, that’s definitely not something I aspire for myself.

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My previous set-up consisted of several cloths stapled to light wooden boards. In addition, I used a three cheap mountable desk lights and four panels of white cardboard to help reflect and diffuse the light. This did give good results. The knives were lit nicely and I was able to pack this rig up in a suitcase to travel to the meet.

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You might not notice it in my previous pictures, but there are a few flaws that have annoyed me. Trust me, once you’ve processed a 100 or so of these pictures, you tend to notice a few things. The cloth was great for providing a neutral background that didn’t cause reflections. However, in close-ups of many smaller knives or details, the cloth pattern would ‘enlarge’ and distract from the knife’s details. Also, the cloth surface is a notorious collector of distracting little hairs and particles. That’s the kind of stuff that can be really annoying in a macro photo. I always had to make sure the surface was clean, and Photoshop helps to erase any remaining offending artifacts. Another problem is that the ‘room’ I had to shoot the photos in, was relatively cramped. I could pull of a few ‘knife-in-hand’ photos, but not much. This was especially tough with bigger knives. Also, this rig was kind of cumbersome to travel with and set-up.

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After a little research I decided to purchase a big (60 x 60 x 60 cm) photo-tent. I’ve found that I need just two lights instead of three to create the proper lighting effect. It took a little research to adjust the camera settings to create proper clear backgrounds in the photos, somewhere between white and grey. I will tinker a bit more to see if I can get the backgrounds whiter, but even now I’m pretty happy with the results.

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With this set-up, it’s much easier to take a lot of photos and they need a lot less time in Photoshop to ‘clean up’. This rig is also way easier to travel with and there’s plenty of room for bigger knives and knife-in-hand photos. I’ve also noticed that with this design, I can even be a bit more artistic in the positioning of the knives.

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Do you like it? Let me know and I’ll use it for the upcoming Amsterdam Meet. Thank you!

PS A little tinkering with the contrast levels, seems to give a better effect in the contrast between the background color and the blade’s color. This is a work in progress, but I found this result interesting:

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Spyderco 2014 Production Sample – Mike Draper

March 10, 2014

I’m back from a wonderful IWA Show, so here’s my next batch of photos from the various concept models, prototypes and production samples that were shown at the Amsterdam Meet.

This Mike Draper design folder has a very interesting look. It’s long and slender like a Police model, but at the same time it’s a bit wider and more rounded. It’s not my personal cup of proverbial tea. But if you like long slender folders, this is just the ticket. IIRC, The blue on this folder was done using the same process as on the tattoo Cricket & Dragonfly.

Since the specifications of the Mike Draper are already in the new catalog, we didn’t collect any measurements of this folder.

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Spyderco 2014 Production Prototype – Kiwi G-10

March 4, 2014

The G-10 Kiwi was shown again this year. Compared to the prototype shown last year, this version seemed even more refined. It handled like a more ergonomic Des Horn. I think the sizes are similar as well. This was very nice folder and I certainly appreciate the fact that the clip can be switched for left-handed users, like me.

I’m afraid the measured specs for this prototype were lost, or we didn’t get around to taking the measurements, once a number of knives made it to our table for pictures. The specifications we collected last year were as follows, I’m sure they’re close:
Blade Length: 7,5 cm / 2.95 inch
Overall Length: 17,1 cm / 6.7 inch

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Spyderco 2012 Prototype – Gayle Bradley Air

March 4, 2012

Each meet seems to be even better than the last one and this one was the best yet IMO. I loved to see all those spydieknuts, there’s a great atmosphere at these gatherings. Also, I loved seeing and handling all those prototypes (and concept models I can’t show you)! I did my best to get as much pics as possible from each model. So without further ado, here’s the Gayle Bradley designed Air.

It’s a nifty little pocket knife. It is clipless and handles as light as pocket lint. This knife has a good edge to handle ratio with a CPM-M4 blade. The silver twill handle is very stylish. I peeked inside the handle to see generously skeletonized handles. I did notice a second little cutout in the liner close to the pivot. Did anyone catch what the purpose was for this cutout? The wharncliffe blade is thin and ends in a needle-like tip. In a way, a surprisingly elegant little folder for a designer who’s known for the big cutting completion knives.