Fix the Windows XP hill

Fix the Windows XP hill

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Aden Wright started this petition to Melanie Bagby

The Windows XP background or "Bliss" is replaced with a vineyard we want that portion have the hill fixed to what it looked like in 1996 it is a ugly vineyard and it is a beautiful hill with the mountains in the back and the grassy hill convert it back to its glory.

In January 1996 former National Geographic photographer Charles O'Rear was on his way from his home in St. 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. Driving along the Sonoma Highway (California State Route 12 and 121) he saw the hill, free of the vineyards that normally covered the area; they had been pulled out a few years earlier following a phylloxera infestation. "There it was! 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.] O'Rear credits that combination of camera and film for the success of the image. "It made the difference and, I think, helped the 'Bliss' photograph stand out even more," he said. "I think that if I had shot it with 35 mm, it would not have nearly the same effect. While he was setting up his camera, he said it was possible that the clouds in the picture came in. "Everything was changing so quickly at that time." He took four shots and got back into his truck According to O'Rear, the image was not digitally enhanced or manipulated in any way.

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. In 2000, Microsoft's Windows XP development team contacted O'Rear through Corbis, which he believes they used instead of larger competitor Getty Images, also based in Seattle, because the former company is owned by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. "I have no idea what [they] were looking for," he recalls. "Were they looking for an image that was peaceful? 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. It has been reported to be "in the low six figures.] O'Rear needed to send Microsoft the original film and sign the paperwork; however, when couriers and delivery services became aware of the value of the shipment, they declined since it was higher than their insurance would cover. So the software company bought him a plane ticket to Seattle and he personally delivered it to their offices. "I had no idea where it was going to go," he said. "I don't think the engineers or anybody at Microsoft had any idea it would have the success it's had." Although not buying the rights to it, Microsoft licensed another picture of O'Rear's, Full Moon over Red Dunes, under the name of Red moon desert.

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. The photographer estimates that the image has been seen on a billion computers worldwide, based on the number of copies of XP sold since then.

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