Have you ever thought about the origin of Windows XP default wallpaper?

Windows XP wallpaper is a famous image, showing a blissfully relaxing vista of green rolling hills and a bluer than blue sky. This default wallpaper is one of the most viewed images of all time that is called the “Bliss”. If you go to Google and search for the word “Bliss” and the first result will be the Windows default wallpaper.

However, Windows image is named Ireland for Dutch users, which has mistakenly led many to believe that that’s where the image was taken.


Have you ever thought where the image was taken, or who took it? In fact, the image is so sharp you might have assumed it wasn’t real at all.

The man behind the camera was American photographer Charles O’Rear. Don’t let his name fool you into thinking that the photo was in fact taken in Ireland. Bliss, as it turns out is in Sonoma County, California.

The photo was taken in 1996, years before Windows XP was launched, and before the area was turned into a vineyard. In fact, the photo was taken 10 years later from exactly the same spot where Bliss was shot. It shows a disappointingly, sad view:


Since then, the image can be found in unexpected places. O’Rear himself has seen the image in the window of a restaurant in a Thai village and in the background of a TV interview with the Venezuelan president.

SHow much did O'Rier receive for what is considered one of the most famous photos of all time? A non-disclosure agreement does not allow him to disclose the real figures, but according to the Napa Valley Register, O'Rier said the amount was "exceptional" and it conceded only a photographer who took the photo of then-President Bill Clinton hugging Monica Lewinsky.

The most surprising fact is that, according to O'Rier the photo was taken by medium format camera, and the image was not subjected to digital processing.

Anyway, the present day reality is a far from the idyllic image, therefore Windows Vista did not use it.

JW Van Wessel found the exact coordinates of the location, and thanks to Google Street View, you can get a 360 degree view of the area, and see exactly how it looks today:


This is a spot where O’Rear stood, so you can see more vineyards:


On the left and right is endless highways:


If you want to see yourself just go to Google Maps and enter the following coordinates: 38.248966, -122.410269.

Via Nancy Messieh
Killer 25 february 2012, 22:48
Vote for this post
Bring it to the Main Page


Leave a Reply

Avaible tags
  • <b>...</b>highlighting important text on the page in bold
  • <i>..</i>highlighting important text on the page in italic
  • <u>...</u>allocated with tag <u> text shownas underlined
  • <s>...</s>allocated with tag <s> text shown as strikethrough
  • <sup>...</sup>, <sub>...</sub>text in the tag <sup> appears as a superscript, <sub> - subscript
  • <blockquote>...</blockquote>For  highlight citation, use the tag <blockquote>
  • <code lang="lang">...</code>highlighting the program code (supported by bash, cpp, cs, css, xml, html, java, javascript, lisp, lua, php, perl, python, ruby, sql, scala, text)
  • <a href="http://...">...</a>link, specify the desired Internet address in the href attribute
  • <img src="http://..." alt="text" />specify the full path of image in the src attribute