I just saw this really cool video about the Microsoft Windows XP wallpaper, “Bliss”. It’s an 8 minute video from the photographer, Charles ‘O Rear, that took the photo. It’s about the story behind how he captured it, and eventually sold it to Microsoft. For starters, you have to just love the guy telling the story. He’s a great story teller and just seems like a guy I’d love to sit down and chat with.
But what I really found interesting is where he took the photo. I would swear up and down that the Bliss photo was taken in the Palouse region of Washington state. In fact, I’ve been there and brought home photos where people say “Hey, that looks a little like the Microsoft wallpaper”. Now, mine weren’t nearly as good as his, but the Palouse area looks exactly like what you see in the Microsoft wallpaper photo. As it turns out though, it was taken in California near the photographers house. If you watch the whole video, they show the road that winds along the place he took it and if I didn’t know better, I’d think I was indeed in the Palouse area. He actually even says in the video at one point, that people thought it was taken near Microsoft’s HQ in Washington, so I have to figure they thought it was the Palouse too.
Anyway, here’s the video. It’s about 8 minutes long and definitely worth watching if you’ve never seen it.
Thanks for sharing this video, Matt, it was very interesting to listen to the story behind that picture. I had the picture on my Windows XP screen many times as I liked its clearness, colours, serenity and peacefulness. Great to know where it originated!
What a great story! Thanks so much for sharing this video. On another note entirely, I have to thank you so much for the great tutorials you post on KelbyOne. I had been struggling for almost 2 years in Lightroom, but then I saw your LR Basics tutorials. Straightened me right out. Am now a total LR addict! And I totally love LR Mobile for my iPad. I’m spending much more time working on my images without feeling trapped on my computer. Too cool! Anyway, thanks so much for generously sharing your knowledge.
Very nice and entertaining!
Hey Matt, love all the great blog posts, my comment is not directed to this article and I did not know how to ask you this question without using this comment section. Did you ever compile the course on cityscapes? Mine are always missing the wow factor that yours have out of the camera. I will be shooting Miami over the water at the bridge with the city in the background at dusk tonight, plan to shoot multiple images and stitch in PS CC as a pano..hope to check out your setting before then. As always, thank you.
Hi Jim. I haven’t done the course yet. I can give you a couple of pointers for your shoot though:
1) I shoot on a tripod. I’ll shoot just after the sun has gone down to get the nice colors in the sky. The problem is that the lights in the buildings don’t look as bright at that point. So I leave my camera on the tripod, don’t move it. Wait about 20 minutes and shoot again. The sky will be darker and probably lose the color. But the lights should be nice and visible. Then, since you were on a tripod, just combine the two photos on layers in Photoshop to get the good sky and lit buildings.
2) In post I use lots of sharpening and lots of clarity. It makes the lights really stand out. onOne’s Dynamic Contrast preset works awesome on the photos too.
Delightful man, cool story! Love the peacefulness of the image.