<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/00-Wallpaper.jpg”>As a computer geek who loves to feast his eyes with beautiful images, it’s only natural that I also love to customize my desktop background with stunning wallpapers. While I’m sure that there are many others who belong in this category, and while there are sources of free and beautiful desktop wallpapers in abundance in the virtual world, most people I know settle for the default collection that came along with their computer.
During my personal quest for beautiful photos to adorn my desktop background, I came across these four great places. Even though one or two of them should be pretty obvious to some of our readers, I’m sure the list could be useful to many others.
Let The Hunt Begin
If you are willing to pay a little bit more attention to your surroundings, beauty is all around us. I guess we should learn how to see our world from a photographer’s eyes. They have the knack to see beautiful images within everyday scenes that we tend to ignore. Here are some places to see those beauties.
1. National Geographic
Photographers are also the kind of people who are willing to go the extra mile to capture something that we will never see in our everyday life: the view of the earth from outer space, the hunting rituals of nocturnal mammals, or the social life of poisonous insects. Nothing can better showcase how far nature photography can go than the images taken by National Geographic photographers.
Other than their official wallpapers page, there’s also the yearly international photography contest (like this 2009 event) with extraordinary photos submitted by “ordinary” photographers from all over the world.
Windows users can simplify the downloading process with the help of an application calledwhich will allow you to download 5,000+ wallpapers in one go.
If National Geographic guys claim the earth’s surface as their territory, then everything above and beyond the earth would be the playground of the NASA people. Not many people know that you can also download beautiful space-related wallpapers from the NASA site.
Just visit their “Image of the day” page for those “trekkish” shots. These interplanetary experts are also kind enough to provide you with several image sizes to download so you can find the one that fits your desktop.
This is also another unusual place to acquire your desktop wallpapers. Other than lots of text-based information, Wikipedia also has one section dedicated to desktop backgrounds.
Other than photographs, you can also find images taken from sketches, drawings, and paintings.
4. Flickr & Wallpapr (& Other Photo Sites)
Let’s not forget one of the products of Web 2.0: Flickr (and other photo sites). Logically, they are also good places for you to drop by on your quest to find wallpapers. One problem though, you should always pay attention to the license. Always try to find images with a Creative Commons license that you can download, use and modify freely. Image size is also another point that you should consider because not all images uploaded to Flickr are formatted to fit your desktop.
Fortunately, you can use the help of Wallpapr to find Flickr images which are already customized to be wallpaper-friendly. All you have to do is write down the search string and Wallpapr will fetch images from the “Wallpapers” group on Flickr. They also have an iPhone version that you can use.
All of the sources above should keep you busy for a very long while. But if you are still hungry for more, you can use your friendly neighborhood search engines, especially the ones that have been customized to find images like Google Image Search. Be creative in using the search string. You might want to start with “Desktop+Wallpaper+Your_Keyword_Here“.
You can use the search engines to find discussions on the net about finding desktop wallpapers, such as this Ask MetaFilter topic.
We also have lots of articles related to desktop wallpapers, such as: Kick-Ass Wallpapers, Best Sites to Download Very High Resolution Wallpapers, The 8 Best Sites For Funny Computer Desktop Wallpapers, etc. Be sure to check them out.
As always, if you have your own personal favorites, please share them using the comments below.