Red moon desert
|Original title||Full Moon over Red Dunes|
|Location||Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, South Africa|
|License type||Royalty free|
|File type||JPEG (.jpg)|
Red moon desert, originally known as Full Moon over Red Dunes, is a wallpaper included in Windows XP, licensed from Corbis. It was taken by Charles O'Rear in the late 90s, who also took XP's iconic default wallpaper, Bliss. It depicts part of Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, South Africa at night, with the moon visible in the left corner. O'Rear also shot several photos of the same desert on the same photo shoot. The image also appears on a card in
People have observed that the moon appears to be upside down compared to what is seen in the Northern Hemisphere, giving rise to the possibility that it is a digital composite. However, O'Rear has never confirmed this. It is also worth noting that the moon is not upside down on images related to it, and the image as a whole is more saturated in appearance compared to the alternate shots.
After Westlight was acquired by Corbis in 1998, the company sent O'Rear around the world for a year to take photos of wine regions. During his time in South Africa, he also took several photos of the desert in Kalahari Gemsbok National Park at night. The ID of the photo when it was available on Corbis was OR006712, which is also revealed to be the image's original file name in the metadata.
In 2000, Microsoft licensed it for use in Windows XP, then codenamed Whistler. It was one of the first new wallpapers to be included with the operating system, along with Azul, Bliss, Follow (then titled Follow me), Moon flower, and Vortec space. It appeared as the default wallpaper from builds 2423 to 2464.
As the desert series of images were part of an assignment for the company, Corbis owned the rights to them until 2016, when its image licensing business was sold to Unity Glory, an affliate of Getty Images partner Visual China Group. They currently own the rights, and consequently none of these shots appear on his PhotoShelter, where he has made several of his own photos available for licensing. However, as all of the shots except the one used in XP were taken down, it is unclear who currently owns the rights to the other shots, although possibly still Unity Glory.
Usage as default wallpaper
According to Microsoft programmer Raymond Chen on his blog The Old New Thing, Red moon desert was originally intended to be XP's default wallpaper, but was allegedly changed due to some testers feeling it resembled a pair of buttocks, leading to O'Rear's other photo Bliss becoming the default wallpaper. While this wallpaper was temporarily set as the default wallpaper during Whistler, this story does not appear to be true; Bliss had already been selected based on extensive research by design manager Rob Girling and his team, and the Luna theme shares the same color scheme as the wallpaper. It is more likely the wallpaper was set to default as a decoy; the unleaked Lab06 build 2415 predates build 2423, and shows Bliss set as the wallpaper.
Red moon desert is one of many desert shots taken by O'Rear in Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in the late 90s. It was part of a series of 12 images on Corbis of the same area; some of these are noticeably similar to the one included in XP, such as a vertical shot and a shot of the same spot with no moon present. However, they do not appear to be digital composites, as the moon is not upside down in any of them and the desert/sky is not as saturated. While this series was transferred to Getty Images, all of the rights-managed shots became restricted assets in January 2020 before being taken down in December 2020. Red moon desert, however, remains commercially available due to it being royalty free to begin with.
There were also alternate shots that were not submitted to Corbis at the time. Among these is one that takes place during daytime. This appears to be a digital composite, as the desert appears very similar to Red moon desert's, and the clouds have appeared in other digital composite photos O'Rear produced. There is also one that takes place during sunset, but this would have been taken in an earlier photoshoot as it originates from Westlight, meaning it was taken before 1998.
A vertical shot; notice how it appears less saturated, and the moon is not upside down.
A shot in roughly the same spot, albeit no moon is present
A vertical shot of a different angle of the desert
A digital composite of the same spot in daylight.
Names in other languages
This section is incomplete. If you have any other translations, please add them.
Rìluò de shāmò
|Desert at sunset|
|Chinese Traditional||日落的沙漠||Desert at sunset|
|Czech||Měsíc nad pouští||The moon over the desert|
|Danish||Rødt ørkenlandskab||Red desert landscape|
|French||Désert sous la lune||Desert under the moon|
|Greek||Πανσέληνος στην κόκκινη έρημο
Pansélinos stin kókkini érimo
|Full moon in the red desert|
|Hungarian||Vörös sivatag||Red desert|
|Italian||Deserto rosso||Red desert|
Yūhi no sakyū
|Dunes of the setting sun|
|Korean||달과 붉은 사막
Dalgwa bulg-eun samag
|Moon and red desert|
|Norwegian||Rød måne-ørken||Red moon desert|
|Polish||Czerwona pustynia||Red desert|
|Portuguese||Deserto vermelho||Red desert|
|Spanish||Desierto rojo con luna||Red desert with moon|
|Turkish||Kızıl çölde ay||Moon in the red desert|
|Romanian||Deșertul lună roșie||Red Moon desert|
- Strutner, Suzy (January 24, 2014). "The Real-Life Places Behind Your Favorite Desktop Backgrounds Revealed". Huffington Post.
- Chen, Raymond (August 25, 2003). "Windows brings out the Rorschach test in everyone". The Old New Thing.