Overwhelmed by the many options one has for headphones and speakers and streaming devices and laptops, we decided to drill people who work in technology about what they use in their own lives — their gadget diets, if you will. Today, we’re asking about the gizmos of David Lee, chief creative officer at Squarespace and serious photography enthusiast.
I pretty much bring my camera and hard drives anywhere. I have them at work with me right now. I use this bag from Peak Design that’s a specific camera bag, so it can hold multiple cameras, lenses, your iPad, and your actual laptop, and it’s really compartmentalized, in a streamlined way, to get every inch of use out of it. The zippers open up on both sides, so you can get easy access to a camera or a lens. A lot of photographers have multiple lenses, so all the pockets and zipper ways are made with a photographer in mid. Camera bags in general are not known to have the best aesthetics. A lot of them are like, “You’re a camera guy.” This one is a little more low-key.
In my slightly older age, I feel like I’m getting forgetful. This thing is flat and stays in my wallet and turns it into a GPS. And I have one on my key chain because my wife was going crazy over how many keys I lose. If I forget something, I can pull it up on an app and buzz it, and it makes a sound.
My baby, the gadget I love and use the most. The Leica isn’t the cheapest camera out there, but it’s the third love of my life right now after my wife and daughter. The best way I can explain it is, it’s the SUV of cameras. It has a solid feel, it’s completely weatherproof, and you can even drench it in water. It’s a very rock-solid camera, and it’s like my go-to if I’m doing street photography and taking portraits. The price tag will make people do a double take; it’s definitely a guilty pleasure, but it’ll last a lifetime.
It’s kind of like my spy camera: It basically has the optics of the best point-and-shoots out there, but it’s in this little incognito shell. I went to see a comedian at Radio City Music Hall, and you weren’t allowed to bring cameras or phones in. This doesn’t look like a camera, it looks like a harmless toy. I kept this in my pocket and got to fire off a few shots. They were actually pretty good shots. It’s much better than an iPhone camera.
When you take a lot of these full-frame photos, you’re basically using a lot of raw photos, and they can be 50 megs right out of the camera. I have a bunch of these and bring at least one of these with me at all times.
I’m a big fan of the [Apple] AirPods because they democratized wireless headphones that stay in your ear. But I never liked the white, it’s a little too in your face when they’re white. I did a search and found this company and literally all they do is take your AirPods and powder coat them to make them professionally black. And they’ll also do the case. But they also sell buds directly, too. Everyone asks where I get them.
I try every once in a while to go out for a morning run. I’m older and have a kid, so it doesn’t happen as often as it used to. But the AirPods, if you’re running, they’re going to keep falling. I need the bigger over-the-ear headphones to run in — I can’t deal with cords everywhere, I’m cord-cutting everything — and I like these because the sound fidelity isn’t professional, but they’re bass-y, and when you’re running you just need something that works. I sweat in them, and they still work.
If you’re going to have something so utilitarian as a vacuum cleaner taking up space, it’s nice to have a good piece of design. My wife and I both appreciate that, so this was our choice. We’ve had it for about four years, and it’s still working great. We also have quite a few bladeless fans from Dyson around the house.
I use the 13-inch MacBook Pro, with the new Touch Bar ID, which in hindsight is kind of useless. It was an interesting attempt, but it takes longer to do the same things you could do with an older laptop. But the computer is probably still the gold standard for laptops, and I’ve always been a Mac user. There are basically zero desktop computers in the office at Squarespace, and all the creatives are on Macs. The engineering team is split between Mac and PCs.
When I’m not actually working at Squarespace, I use a tablet for everything. I have the 10.1, along with the Apple Pencil. I got the pencil right away because I tend to be a gadget nerd. At first I didn’t really have a use case for it, but then I started seeing some apps where you could do some robust color grading for photos. It seemed more natural than on a desktop because you’re drawing right on a screen. I did that in Kenya, on a safari. I was taking photos but then loading them up on the tablet, right on the safari, and doing retouching.
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