After Hours

Public domain Windows Desktop wallpaper from US National Parks

Mount Rushmore National Memorial - South Dakota

Colossal heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were sculpted by Gutzon Borglum on the face of a granite mountain.

Photo credit to National Park Service

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

49 comments
amileedesoza23
amileedesoza23

The pics of the national parks are awesome. I have never visited this park but now I would like to visit here soon. All the pics are looking very real and attractive. I really appreciate the photography skills. Thanks for presenting these. :)   

 

Edited to remove link

timthumb6100
timthumb6100

You know for a bunch of supposedly intelligent people, criticizing the work that the people on this site do is very small minded. If you cant say something appreciative, don't waste your time posting degrading remarks. To Mark and the rest of you that take the time to present the articles...furgetabout them.

boucaria
boucaria

I have seen some "old" pics of places, and when photoshopped they usually get re-sampled, and if needed a border can be done, and the result is usually good. The pics at smithsonian.org and defenders of wildlife are great, however I don't know if they are public domain. I am partial to pics from Tasmania, either North-West, East-Coast, or south-West, and they seem to be public domain. National Geographic has loads of great pics, and whilst obscure, I like the Sciam pics from the Magazine MIND.

Johnexo
Johnexo

yosemite national park is one of the shining gems of the national park service and only three hours from San Joaquin Valley. The best way to discover Yosemite is to actually go and see its beauty unfold for yourself.

Johnexo
Johnexo

Badlands National Park is very beautiful and located about one hour south of Rapid City, South Dakota, on the old homeland of the Sioux . The Badlands is a unique national park that features both high northern prairie wildlife and the outstanding geological features.

AlgotRuneman
AlgotRuneman

NASA's APOD site offers great images which work well as desktop backgrounds without getting in the way. For what it's worth, they work fine beyond the Windows operating system, too.

djbsubscriptions
djbsubscriptions

I know NYC wants to take credit for EVERYTHING, but come on. Consider 2 facts and an observation: 1. Look at a map - you can spit to Liberty Island from NJ - it's MUCH closer to NJ than NYC 2. All utilities to Liberty Island come from NJ 3. If you had a statue to greet the world, would you have it facing to you or out to the rest of the world?

echo0505
echo0505

All pictures were beautiful, but lousy reproduction. Wallpapers must be razor sharp or it interferes with desktop viewing. I'm sure NPS has better reproductions and should have known better. Ed C. Ex USDI scientist and photographer.

PC Paul
PC Paul

... of beautiful images usable for desktop backgrounds is http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/ Besides landscapes they also have many other interesting subject matter such as animals, insects, people and buildings. They also come in a variety of sizes if you go to the "wallpaper" tab a the top of the page.

Northeast & Atlantic RR
Northeast & Atlantic RR

Of course I went looking for the photo of ANP where I live and was profoundly disappointed. I can walk from my office to places with prettier views. Oh well !

dchamp
dchamp

Why not put up a link where can download ALL of them??

p.rooke
p.rooke

After reading the comments I dont think Ill bother with any of them.

cybersnoop4
cybersnoop4

I live near another more beautiful national park. Lassen Volcanic National Park. The least visited national park.

Chomps
Chomps

the link to: NPS Digital Image Index. does not seem to work.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

What is your current desktop wallpaper? What desktop wallpaper themes to you have? To get the best result, left-click the smaller image to get the largest resolution image. In Windows, you then right-click that large image and click the "Set as desktop background" menu item.

caebte
caebte

Hubble has some cool space pics for wallpaper! http://hubblesite.org/gallery/ (P.S. rude ungrateful nerds please don't attack me like you did Mark - I'm just posting the link! Take it or leave it. And no, neither your 6-year-old nor your granny could probably do better than the Hubble space telescope. Thankfully there are no strange people in the pictures for you to also complain about. (although you can't rule out Martians))

capeterson67
capeterson67

While I don't want to overly criticize what I feel was genuine effort, the Acadia picture left much to be desired. I lived in Maine from 89 to 93 in and around Bar Harbor and Seal Harbor on Mt. Desert Island. There are thousands of better pictures out there.

ESchlangen
ESchlangen

Pretty much every major park has a Facebook page where amateur photogs put their photos. You'll have to wade through a lot of dross but the occasional gem shines through. And every once in a while, it's a Hope Diamond level gem!

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

We must have crashed that photo index page with the increased traffic. I don't think it will be permanent.

seanferd
seanferd

These are historical, scanned images of old prints. Boo freakin' hoo.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

It seems the index site I linked in the description is no longer active. Perhaps it could not handle the increased traffic. That's first for me. With luck the link will work in the future. The main link to the National Park Service is still working: http://www.nps.gov/index.htm

seppos
seppos

Maybe this topic was a joke after all?

SamFrench
SamFrench

There's a legal term in the entertainment industry for things that are not very good, downright bad, not worth copying, not worthy of inclusion or something you don't even want to meet with the creator about. The term is "That's so PD." It means: that's so public domain. Those photos are so PD. Not only was the quality disappointingly low but WHO WERE THOSE PEOPLE IN THE FOREGROUND OF SOME PHOTOS? Unless I know and love them, I don't want people in my desktop/wallpaper photos. They distract. I wasn't expecting Ansel Adams -quality work, but something a little north of what my six year-old can take with her 6mp digital camera with all settings on AUTO.

ahernte
ahernte

The foremost symbol of Freedom is The Liberty Bell. It is in Independence National Historical Park, in a beautiful, dignified setting near Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

don.childers
don.childers

Not to be a photo snob but these are pretty low quality pictures. They look like vacation slides from the 1970s. Most of them even have slide borders and dust on the pictures. I guess they could be downloaded for nostalgia reasons. My run of the mill 12 megapixel digital camera has ruined me.

dmass
dmass

A picture from the shore of Lake Richie in Isle Royale NP.

rob123q
rob123q

Thanks for the cool link, there are some great photos suitable for wallpaper use! I sometimes cannot believe how much criticism is posted in reply to some of the articles here. I realize the photos offered here were not up to todays standards but it is offered for entertainment purposes and if you do not like it just do not use it. I would hope that educated IT professionals would realize this and not be so ready to jump all over someone for offering a service for free. I look foward to the TechRepublic articles daily and appriciate the effort put into them. Thanks for the great work!!

mudpuppy1
mudpuppy1

and old. They are decent photos and worth looking at. But, they were presented as wallpaper. As wallpaper, they are not up to the task. Some people have large monitors where these pictures would look grainy and blurry. We have come to expect very sharp and vivid hi-def photos as wallpaper. I think that is where most of the criticism is directed. Another commenter complained about the posters being critical. Nothing wrong with being critical when it is called for. How else can the author know how his article is being received. I think he would appreciate less than flattering reviews. No need to be nasty though (in most cases).

emmausdan
emmausdan

the Yosemite web site has removed all of the photo gallery photos. Only videos are available

fmendez
fmendez

I am sorry, but I have to agree with SamFrench. I don't mind much about the people in the background if I can't see them much. But the quality of the picture makes them (picture) far eligible for my desktop.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

[i]Not to be a photo snob...[/i] I don't think your fully automatic no thought involved just point and shoot to get high-quality images but lousy pictures 12 Megapixel digital camera ruined you.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

Take a look at the title - public domain - free to use anywhere. Some are obviously older - that is why they are public domain. If you have better photos from National Parks and want to share them free of restrictions, I will happily publish them.

bd1235
bd1235

I downloaded the first two photos and the quality was so bad I wouldnt download any more. My granny took better photos.

purrmeow
purrmeow

Agreed. They look decent in small sizes, but they are not good enough quality to use for a wallpaper. I am shocked that TechRepublic would post something like this with such poor quality. This is not news.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

Thank you for the support - I, and the entire TechRepublic staff, appreciate it.

don.childers
don.childers

I just meant that I was spoiled by what cameras (mine admittedly on auto) can do today. I'm definitely not a photographer.

john3347
john3347

"I don't think your fully automatic no thought involved just point and shoot to get high-quality images but lousy pictures 12 Megapixel digital camera ruined you."

boomchuck1
boomchuck1

Just did a great trip to Grand Canyon and south Utah NPs and would be happy to upload some of the images. Where can I send them?

Scott R.
Scott R.

I heartily agree. Those of you with supposed mad photographic skills, please respond to this with your high resolution photos of national parks. I'd download and use them.

boomchuck1
boomchuck1

At the bottom of some of the galleries is a link to more images. Many of them seemed to be better quality than the scanned slides.

adam.okhai
adam.okhai

I too am puzzled at the sub-optimal quality of the images from National Park Services. I would compare wallpaper available from Nat Geographic , before downloading. The NPS wallpaper might have a slight advantage in that your desktop icons show more clear. Leila Simone, admin asst to Adam Okhai president TLC

barrydoig
barrydoig

These photos are an insult to the integrity of your National Park Service photographers. 30 years ago I visited the USA from New Zealand specifically to photograph some of your National Parks. Although I was an amateur my images are far better than any of these and I carefully preserved them. Surely the NPS has better images. Barry Doig