Walnut Khukri and some Photography Experimentation

Erin Burke

Well-Known Member
Good morning y'all. I finished this knife up a couple weeks ago, but had been struggling to find time to take photos.

Back in '04-'06, I was really into khukris, and spent a decent amount of time (and money) hanging around the Himalayan Imports sub-forum over on Bladeforums. In time, my interests evolved -- transitioning from the H.I. sub-forum, to the Balisong sub-forum (where I started playing with kits), then over to BF Shop Talk -- but I never lost interest in the khukri form.

This is not a traditional khuk... no Cho, and a long flat grind with no fullers... but, in the broader sense, I think the name still applies.

Some Stats:
Length: 13-3/4"
Blade: 7-13/16" (Tip to choil),
Weight: 350g (0.77lbs)
Steel: Differentially Heat-Treated W2
Handle: Stabilized Figured Walnut w/ Mild Steel pin
Bolster: Mild Steel

This first photo was taken in my home-made light tent. It's a decent enough image, but doesn't really bring out the activity in the walnut. Further... it wasn't until I downloaded the image that I noticed I had forgotten to darken the pin to match the fittings. Oops.

I new I should shoot a few more photos, to see if I could bring out some more detail... so I started exploring Youtube for tips on product/knife photography. That's when I stumble upon THIS little gem of a video from Andy Shinosky on light painting and product photography. He comes up with some really nice knife photos using nothing but his camera, a tripod, an iPad, a keychain flashlight and a dark room. Oh... and Photoshop. :p

This was my first attempt with his method.

Not too bad, but I still wanted to show more angles... and setup for multiple angles was a snap without big lights and the bulky tent.

Thanks for looking.


Erin Burke

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the comments guys.

love the link, but that knife is so beautiful it doesn't need any trick photography
Haha... thanks.
Honestly though, I wouldn't consider this to be trick photography. It's just a really cool way to get light where you want it without a cumbersome set-up. Maybe not an ultimate solution, but it's another tool in the toolbox... and I'll definitely be exploring it more in the future.

That's pure gold!! both the kukri and the light painting. A big thank you!!
Thanks a lot Erin. That's a very valuable pointer -- and a great knife.
Yeah... I ended up downloading the same app that Andy uses in the video for both my iPad and iPhone. For the green shot, I set the white balance of my camera to shade (7000k) and matched it with the iPad. I also tried to add highlights with a keychain LED flashlight, similar to the video. The white balance for the flashlight images was a bit off though, and needed to be tweaked when processing the RAW files. I think I may need to adjust to an even higher color temp on the camera and iPad if I use the keychain light again.
The last shot (shots really) was done 100% with my iPhone for illumination. Both camera and phone were at 7000k again

Best of luck playing with this method.