This is the second installment of my “10 wallpaper selections” series. (See the first installment of wallpaper selections here).
I have a few rules that I use when making these selections: the images are not just pretty but will have to “work” as background images on the desktop.
In most cases they will be straight photographs rather than illustrations, and if they are altered in any way it needs to be minimal (or at least the alterations have to be tastefully done and look plausibly real).
However, I may on occaison feature a “texture” wallpaper and the rare illustration, but you will not see images where people, animals, vehicles, or brands are the main subject matter; no’r will I feature any magical realism (i.e. unicorns, medieval castles, Avatar-style worlds, etc).
You might be thinking: well, if you’re going to filter all of that crap out then you’re going to have a hard time finding a nice selection of cool images for these posts! And you would be right .
Ok on to the images.
1. Rain and Rainbow
I am absolutely in love with this image. It invokes such a sense of infinite space as to make it the perfect wallpaper. The vibrant yellow, dreamy grey, and dash of blue work so well together, whilst that rainbow is pure perfection.
Download it here 1920×1200.
2. Victorian Grunge.
The words “hauntingly beautiful” come to mind. What I’ve with this one is that there is a disconnect between the experience of looking at this image as an image, and the experience of placing it in the background as a wallpaper; it works so much better on the desktop.
Don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself. Go here to download (1280×800). Click on “download” in the left sidebar.
3- Harbour Groyne
I found this image on this photo blog where every single image could make a terrific desktop background. I loved so many aspects of this one: the strange and quirky composition with the wall or barrier reaching to the horizon, the fog (or mist or whatever that is) floating over the water, the wonderful juxtaposition of blue and brown.
I also think that the blue in this image has a very calming and inspiring effect, and what more can you ask for than to be subliminally calmed and inspired all day long?
Go here to download (up to 1024×682 resolution available).
4. “Bridge and fog”
This one is from the National Geographic website, which is one of the best wallpaper sources on the web. As with some of the other images in this post, this one works better as a desktop background than you might initially expect.
I spent over an hour trying to find the page where I got this image in order to link to it, without success. Therefore I gave it a somewhat random title here (Bridge and fog) and uploaded here for download (1600×1200).
5- Lunch Atop a skyscraper (in Lego)
This is a Lego reconstruction of the very famous image by Charles Ebbets taken in 1932 (see the original to the right). It comes from a really cool photo set on Flickr entitled Classics in Lego (which you simply have to check out).
There are actually two versions of this, the widescreen image shown above, and another one with a “normal” one. Either one will work just fine as a wallpaper if you use the “fill” setting when installing this as your desktop background, otherwise download the normal aspect ratio image if you aren’t.
Somehow this image works really well as a desktop background.
6- The Dark Side of Windows
I’ve grown to love this wallpaper, even though at first glance I wouldn’t have thought that an altered image with the Windows logo would be quite my cup of tea. But there’s something to this one, the colors, maybe, or the atmosphere (or both) that makes it an absolute winner.
Download it here (click on the “enlarge wallpaper” tab and the site will automatically serve a resolution appropriate for your system).
7. Thunderous Hills
I first saw this one on the desktop of one of my colleagues at work (Hi Dan), a designer who uses a Mac. When I asked about its origin he indicated that it may have shipped with his Mac by default, and emailed it to me. I’ve tested this one out as a desktop background and, behold, it looked just as good on my PC as it did on his Mac.
You can find this one in several places on the net, or download here (2560×1600).
8- Meadows Park, Scotland
Another one from National Geographic, this “Photo of the Day” has a lot to recommend it in terms of making a great wallpaper: simplicity in layout, and an expanse of a solid, simple color towards the bottom (perfect for placing icons). It has a “realness” to it that is removed from the idealized beauty of so many wallpaper images, yet is so amazingly pretty exactly because of it.
Download here (click on the download wallpaper link, 1600×1200).
9- Sandringham Beach
The contrast between the enveloping greyness and the dash of intense, burning orange in the distance makes this image, for me. I also love the expanse of water and cloudy sky.
Download it here (resolution up to 1920×1200).
10- The Lightness of Being
An amazingly beautiful image, yet I was somewhat concerned that it wouldn’t quite work as a desktop background given the complexity in its upper half (specifically, I was concerned all the branches would make file and folder icons difficult to discern).
In fact, it turns out that this can indeed work on the desktop, albeit maybe not as well as some of the others. Still, with a name like “The Lightness of Being” I knew I just had to include this one in my selections.
Download it here (up to 1920×1200 resolution).