Yes, you better believe it. The desktop background that has legendarily been bestowed the title of “Bliss” was not shot in the hills of Ireland, but rather, Sonoma.
Taken in 1996 on a road that cuts through California’s wine country (the photographer claims the photo wasn’t digitally enhanced at all). Bliss was the image that every kid and young adult saw as they booted up their Windows XP (we all remember it.) The man behind the camera is American photographer Charles O’Rear, who saw the hillside in the late 90’s, pulled over on his drive, and snapped the image with his medium format. Grapevines have since been planted on the iconic hillside so if you went to look today, you won’t be able to find the gorgeous green hillside.
Though the image is probably the most seen in our generation, 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. It doesn’t phase him when he see’s the image out and about, O’Rear was paid out an unspoken amount of money for the image’s rights.
And for those who remember Bliss as this gorgeous rolling green hill and immaculate blue sky, the most surprising fact about the image is that O’Rear claims that it wasn’t digitally manipulated. At all. Medium Format with the right type of film could indeed capture color so rich plus mixed with a shitty over-processed computer screen from the 90’s.
But the spot is open on the road for people to check it out, unfortunately the land is now private property but you could still pull over and give yourself a second glance.
// To give it a try yourself, just go to Google Maps and enter the following coordinates: 38.248966, -122.410269.