After seeing a call for artwork for Ubuntu 10.10 wallpapers on OMG! Ubuntu, I submitted a handful of photos to the Ubuntu Artwork pool on Flickr, just for kicks. Not long after, I discovered that two of my photos-- the feather and the happy cinnamon-- made the final 17 chosen for inclusion in the Maverick release. It's an honor, and a geeky dream come true. To celebrate the release of Ubuntu 10.10, here are the stories behind the two photos.
Described as "the less interesting picture, but better desktop wallpaper", the feather has an equally unremarkable story. I had recently acquired a Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro lens, and had gotten into the habit of crawling around the floor, taking macro pictures of anything that looked interesting. (I even walked up to my boss and asked if I could take a macro picture of his shirt, and he kindly humored me.) One of the things I found to take a picture of was a cat toy that had feathers on it-- and out of that cat toy, the feather photo was born.
I've posted over 50,000 photos to Flickr, so a competition for my "favorite photograph" would be a fierce one. Happy Cinnamon would undoubtedly make the top 5. It was January 25, 2008, and a cold Chicago winter. Andy and I went up to Devon Ave., home of the Patel Brothers grocery store and super-cheap spices. We had some mulled wine at ZooLights a few weeks earlier, and needed some cinnamon sticks to re-create the experience. I took one out of the package and looked at it from one end, and was utterly delighted to see it smiling at me. That photo became my picture-of-the-day for January 25th.
March came, and it was still cold and dreary, and I decided that my part of the office (which included the door to the entire space) needed some color... much to the chagrin of my more button-down co-workers. I put up a rainbrow made of macro photos of food, and encouraged visitors to guess what each photo was while they were waiting. Happy cinnamon, the wrong hue to be included in the rainbow, got the place of honor: right opposite the door, so it could greet everyone who walked in.
I eventually re-decorated, then moved offices, but I took Happy Cinnamon home. It's bounced around my apartment, but most recently it's been positioned between the kitchen and the living room. Every morning when I open the bedroom door, Happy Cinnamon is smiling at me from the other end of the hallway. Every evening when I come home from work, Happy Cinnamon is there, above the table where I pile stuff to sort out later.
Whether or not Happy Cinnamon is the best choice for a desktop wallpaper (the point has been well-made that there's perhaps too much contrast for it to be ideal), I'm glad my serendipitous realization that cinnamon sticks smile at you is today in the hands of thousands.