>influenced by Bliss
Sure, many did of course and i think that was the second/last wave but O'Rear's Bliss
was bought around 2000 for use in XP, a few years already into the direction of the calm atmosphere thingy.
For example Windows 98 already used the vast blue sky in its imagery, works from early 90s featured the same deal when presenting things, kinda replacing the flashy colors with geometric figures with deep blue and fluffy white clouds. Some of the "Executive" tech style aesthetic seen in this era from software products are from this era too, which i suppose IBM/Microsoft used well.
My theory is that the style overall comes mainly from the new age wave of the late 80's/early 90's that the generation before the boomers tended to love, Windham Hill Records famous for its impulse of new age music used extensive landscape photography in their covers, heavily inspired by the 70's film color advances but more focused on the 80's landscape works, mainly by Galen Rowell which is the modern father of said photo genre.
By New Age i mean the guys back then who were into "spiritual" stuff, the kind of people who bought crystals, read buddhism and alien stuff with a lean on the pleiadians, ate yogurt tofu sushi, used light clothing with pastel colors, practiced feng shui and yoga, trends that nowadays sound "normal" but in the early 00's it was still considered quite fringe.
probably did was usher the same imagery but a bit more playful, more saturated colors, a bit more abstract at times due to the light hitting the hill which translates in more adventurous angles or color casts, like deutsch angles and cold tones in otherwise warm light. The Green and Blue certainly was XP's theme, any wallpaper with those colors was going to fit in, the more edgy ones picked black and silver and then chose a Slipknot wallpaper or some other thing lol. In the American case it's "easy" to decipher why but how the japanese fit here is the thing i still don't quite get because it was a thing with them too, the Dreamcast browser had a similar theme which we can attribute to Win98 i guess.
And to think O'Rear practically found a lucky shot is sad to think about, such a beautiful scenery was actually rare to see because the location is used extensively as a vineyard and he just stumbled upon it while they were doing a crop refit, so only every once in a couple decades the place is like that without vines or the grids in them, and to top there was a rain a day prior i think so the grass was extra green, sky was deep as hell due to the lens polarizer so even the sun angle was a coincidence. I mean he's accomplished for having recognized and taken the shot, that's for sure, he was driving fast as hell as the story says.