The location where the "Bliss" wallpaper for Windows was taken.
Place of Interest in Sonoma, California, United States.
This is the location where the photograph for the iconic "Bliss" Windows XP wallpaper was taken.
It is situated on Highway 121 in Sonoma County, California, roughly 1.5 miles east of a small community called Schellville.
To find the exact location, you can use the coordinates that we have listed in the directions section below.
The image was taken in January of 1996 by photographer Charles O'Rear. At the time, he was driving westward along Highway 121, towards his girlfriend's house.
That day, a storm had passed over northern California. Sensing that the weather conditions might provide him with a good photo opportunity, O'Rear took his camera with him and remained on the lookout for the perfect shot.
When he reached this section of the highway near Schellville, he noticed the bright green hill on his right and decided to pull over.
As he jumped out of his vehicle and grabbed his tripod, he had no way of knowing that he was about to take one of the most recognizable images in human history. Nor did the passersby who saw him standing on the side of the road.
Initially, O'Rear made it available online as a stock photo. However, in 2000, Microsoft contacted him and offered to buy all of the rights to his image for a six-figure sum.
The cost of buying the photo was so high that couriers refused to deliver the original film due to insurance reasons. Consequently, O'Rear had to fly to Microsoft's headquarters and hand-deliver it himself.
After buying the image, Microsoft named it "Bliss" and decided to use it as the default wallpaper for Windows XP—a critically acclaimed operating system that sold 17 million copies in the first two months alone.
Between 2001 and 2006, more than 400 million copies of Windows XP were sold.
This means that people all over the world have viewed O'Rear's photo billions of times.
Where was the "Bliss" wallpaper taken?
Below, you will find the address and the GPS coordinates for this location.
The latitude and longitude coordinates for the site are:
To view directions on how to get there, you can use the Google Maps shortcut below:
The full address for this location is:
The hill in "Bliss" is on the northern side of the highway, about 250 yards east of the entrance to Ramal Road. The closest address is 3150 Highway 121, Sonoma. It is roughly 19 miles southeast of Santa Rosa.
Details about the general area.
Sonoma County lies between Marin County and Mendocino County in northern California.
Private property warning.
This is a private property. It is not a public place. Therefore, you should be respectful and not step foot on the property without permission.
The hill is not public property.
Photos of the site and other related images.
Then and now.
The photograph for the "Bliss" wallpaper was taken in January of 1996. The Google Street View image at the bottom is from April of 2021—roughly 25 years later.
As you can see, the hill looks noticeably different these days due to the presence of vines.
Back in 1996, it was bare because the vines had recently been removed due to an infestation of insects called "grape phylloxera", which feed on the roots and leaves.
This aerial map shows the general location where Charles O'Rear (top left) stopped to take the photograph.
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