Add a Spinning Top to Your Everyday Carry

The Schulte - A Balanced, Functional EDC Spinning Top

The EDC (everyday carry) community is quite the group on social media, and we've enjoyed getting to be a part of it and meeting people through it - one being Beau Hudspeth, owner of PIX-EDC and The WatchTographer.

We thought we'd share @Pix_EDC with you, our fellow EDC and Schulte spinning top fans. This interview was extra fun for us because not only is Beau part of the EDC community, but he's also a photographer (he's been in photography for 37 years). It's a great combo of Bruce Charles Designs and one of our partner companies, SnapIt Boards.

A Bruce Charles Designs Spin Base, custom @deejo_knives 15g Watch Movement Blade and SnapIt Boards' Concrete photography backdrop board.

Whether you're just getting started on your EDC collection or have been working on your collection for years, we thought you'd enjoy hearing from another EDC enthusiast.

Q: How did you get started with @pix_edc, EDC gear, and photography?

A: I received my first SLR (a Canon AE1-Program) as a gift in 1984, as a not-so-subtle hint to stop using my father's expensive Canon A1, which I had been cutting my artistic teeth on. Since that hot, August, Michigan summer, I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to photograph just about everything I desired - at least, in some form or another. Portrait, wedding, event, senior, macro, nature, nude, celestial, architectural, auto, floral, item, avian ... dang near everything ... except real estate. That style still hasn't been checked off the list. I've had my images printed in a few books, magazines, and even The New York Times - how cool is that?!

For the last 10-ish years of my photography career, my primary focus (with the occasional wedding or family/senior portrait job thrown in for good measure) has been on wristwatch photography. Now, how exactly I got into that is a tale for another day, but suffice to say, the knowledge, equipment, and experience I gained in shooting watches made the lateral slide into EDC items seem like the next photo-logical step in an undefined progression. They require roughly the same shooting space, backgrounds, staging, lighting & shooting techniques - and the 'props' very often overlap. Knives in watch shots morphed into watches in knife shots.

Q: What was your very first EDC?

A: Well, let me consult the deep recesses of my mind on that one. I guess I would have to say it was a knife of some sort or another. See, I was born in Central Oregon and spent many summers running all over my grandparents' 80-acre ranch. Back then, rarely a day went by where an opportunity to use your knife wouldn't be presented. Cutting twine off hay bales. Carving a lightsaber - that had a striking resemblance to a rough-cut tree branch. Working on my professional 'broad side of a barn' knife-throwing career. Trimming fishing line. Any number of tasks.

I fondly remember my grandfather sharpening his old Case folder at the kitchen table during breaks for lunch. He would sharpen the blade so often; the belly had been completely honed down to flat. I still have a small Gerber folder of his and a Case XX hunting knife that I received after his passing on to glory.

Q: I know we've enjoyed seeing a BCD spinning top in some of your gear pics ... what advantage do you see for people adding a top to their EDC gear?

A: I think, living in the day and age where we do, where stresses and worries are ever encroaching on our minds and occupy too much of our thoughts, having a small, simple, and relaxing EDC item like a pocket-top, can help be a calming respite in the 'storm.' Seeing that there are still portions of your life that you directly control, that are perfectly balanced and function with minimal effort or direction - to me, it's a relaxing distraction from the chaos that surrounds us.

Q: If you had to pick your top 5 EDC/gear products, what would they be, and do you have a favorite type of gear? 

A: My top 5? Okay, let us start with two items I have already mentioned: a watch and a knife. Adding to those, let's go with a writing implement, phone, flashlight ... and another knife. I know that is six, but there is an old saying that goes, "2 is 1 and 1 is none". That basically translates to 'there is power in redundancy.'

As for a favorite type of gear? I would say that changes as your daily life changes. As I mentioned, back on the ranch, a knife was absolutely essential - that stuff doesn't cut itself. But when I sold cell phones for US West Wireless, it was a heavy, expensive (and quite cool) rollerball pen I had hanging around my neck. Now, as a homeowner and photographer (blessed to work from their home studio), it falls at just about a 50/50 split of knife and watch - with a knife ever so slightly taking the lead. Some would think that it would be the other way around, but when you spend hours with your wrists on a desk, for me, the bracelet on a watch can get uncomfortable after a few hours of 'wrist to keyboard' contact.

Q: Of the 4 BCD spinning tops, do you have a favorite to spin? To photograph?

A: In my mind, they are one and the same, and for the same reason - the brass top. Why? It's all about the patina. When I was younger, everything needed to be clean and shiny. Since then and as I have aged, far from a fine wine and not unlike that of a cheese, I see the beauty in places where time makes itself apparent. Rusted metal. Old barn wood. Cool designs of the past. They each put their history on display for everyone to see.

Q: Your photos really are stunning …would you share your top photography tip or 2?

A: Okay, these are going to be absolutely underwhelming in their 'cool' factor, but useful nonetheless.

Tip #1: Get to know your camera and understand what its abilities and limitations are. I don't care if you are sporting the latest multi-bazillion megapixel mirrorless interchangeable lens model or a basic camera stuck inside a 4-year-old cell phone. Each of these has the ability to take stunning photos when you understand what they are and are not capable of and then work within those confines.

Tip #2: Do not be afraid to experiment. Change the lighting. Add motion. Freeze motion. Shoot B&W. Try macro. In fact, shoot EVERYTHING. Today's photographers have instant feedback from their camera of choice (or of the moment) in the way of instant pictures on a screen. When I started out, film and developing were expensive, to say the least, and you often had to wait many weeks to see the results of your hard work. And it was then, and only then, you discovered if you had a stellar NatGeo worthy image or yet another picture of your pedestrian feet. 

And the best part of this digital photography age? Inexpensive, rewritable media. Delete the junk and keep the best. Never again will there be shoeboxes full of nasty, blurry, poorly composed images taking up valuable closet space ... unless that's your jam. Hey, no judging.

Wow! Such a fun interview! Thanks so much for sharing with us, Beau! We loved chatting EDC and photography with you! We hope you'll follow Beau's advice and add a Schulte EDC spinning top to your collection to help unplug and relax your mind!