The default wallpapers that come with Window’s Vista are without a doubt some of the best that have ever been offered with an operating system. And what’s more amazing is that a portion of them came from amateur photographers. Thanks to Digg, I came across a page on Flickr that has several photos that someone took hoping that Microsoft would select them to become default Vista Wallpapers.  Two photos actually made it, but all of them are simply amazing.

Vista: Destination Vista: Lost Sensations Beyond Clarity Imprisoned Endless Horizons Explorer in a world of giants The Living Symphony ( OH ) Zone Colors [ of the ] Northwest Destination - vol. II Alone ... and facing the storm Explore The Romance Mt. Shasta Vista: The Planet of Life Northwest.Outdoors H2O: Invasion of the liquid The Endless Journey Land & Water: daylight edition Whispers Of The Pacific A Peek [ at the ] Peak Angry Shores S!lk Essential Colors of Middle Earth Reign of Fire Wizard [ of the ] Northwest Gate of the ocean: heavens of the northwest Aging Lands of Middle Earth The Beast Echoes of a Dream Visions of Inspiration Shores of Fire By A Snowy Hillside No Steps Further The Distant Mountain - vol. II
Gathering the backgrounds for Windows Vista was no easy task.  In fact, it took a year to search for the perfect selection. Not only did Microsoft go out on a limb and seek photos from Flickr, they also sought them out from their own employees, as well as stock houses like National Geographic. has a list of statistics on the selection process:
  • 2/3 of the collection came from licenses stock houses
  • Some of the photos came from Flickr photographers
  • 5 of the images came from Microsoft employees
  • Microsoft evaluated over 10,000 images during the first round of the selection process.

Another great source for wallpapers is a Spectacular Landscapes  group over at Flickr.  Images are posted by invitation only.  The selectiveness means that images tend to be high quality, and worth taking a look at. With 6,180 photos to choose from, there’s bound to be something you’ll be interested in.