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Bliss is the default computer wallpaper of Microsoft 's Windows XP operating system. It is a virtually unedited photograph of a green hill and blue sky with clouds in the Los Carneros American Viticultural Area of California 's Wine Country. Charles O'Rear made the photo in and Microsoft bought the rights in Former National Geographic photographer Charles O'Rear , a resident of the nearby Napa Valley , took the photo on film with a medium-format Mamiya RZ67 camera while on his way to visit his girlfriend in While it was widely believed later that the image was digitally manipulated or even created with software such as Adobe Photoshop , O'Rear says it never was.
Several years later, Microsoft engineers chose a digitized version of the image and licensed it from O'Rear. Over the next decade it was claimed to be the most viewed photograph in the world during that time.
Helena, California , in the Napa Valley north of San Francisco , to visit his girlfriend, Daphne Irwin whom he later married , in the city, as he did every Friday afternoon. He was working with Irwin on a book about the wine country. He was particularly alert for a photo opportunity that day, since a storm had just passed over and other recent winter rains had left the area especially green. My God, the grass is perfect! It's green! The sun is out; there's some clouds," he remembered thinking. He stopped somewhere near the Napa — Sonoma county line and pulled off the road to set his Mamiya RZ67 medium-format camera on a tripod, choosing Fujifilm 's Velvia , a film often used among nature photographers and known to saturate some colors.
Since it was not pertinent to the wine-country book, O'Rear made it available through Corbis as a stock photo , available for use by any interested party willing to pay an appropriate licensing fee.
Were they looking for an image that had no tension? Microsoft said they wanted not just to license the image for use as XP's default wallpaper , but to buy all the rights to it. They offered O'Rear what he says is the second-largest payment ever made to a photographer for a single image; however, he signed a confidentiality agreement and cannot disclose the exact amount.
Bliss (image) - Wikipedia
So the software company bought him a plane ticket to Seattle and he personally delivered it to their offices. Microsoft gave the photo its current name, and made it a key part of its marketing campaign for XP. Although Microsoft are often said to have cropped it slightly to the left and made the greens slightly stronger, the version Microsoft bought from Corbis had been edited like this to begin with.
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O'Rear concedes that despite all the other photographs he took for National Geographic , he will probably be remembered most for Bliss. Since the origins of the image were not widely known for several years after XP's release, there had been considerable speculation about where the landscape was. Other users have speculated that the image was not of a real location, that the sky came from a separate image and was spliced together with the hill. O'Rear is adamant that, other than Microsoft's minor alterations to the digitized version, he did nothing to it in a darkroom , contrasting it with Adams' Monolith :.
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I didn't "create" this. I just happened to be there at the right moment and documented it. If you are Ansel Adams and you take a particular picture of Half Dome and want the light a certain way, you manipulate the light.
He was famous for going into the darkroom and burning and dodging. Well, this is none of that. In December , Microsoft released a screensaver under the name of Bliss , with the scenery similar to the image, but has animating effects. He notes the "dreamlike quality" created by the filtered sunlight on the hillside as distinguishing the image. Although the company had never told O'Rear or anyone else, Clark thought he could guess. It may also have been chosen because it's an unusually inviting image of a verdant landscape and one that promotes a sense of wellbeing in desk-bound computer users.
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