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Flying Around the World, Recreating macOS Wallpapers

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read
Flying Around the World, Recreating macOS Wallpapers

Above is my recreation of the macOS Catalina wallpaper taken in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

And here's a few versions of the Big Sur wallpaper.

And finally, here's an attempt at the Yosemite wallpaper.

I think they all have their own special charm, but in partial to the Catalina one because it looks so damn realistic.

So how'd I get these? Well, as far as I can tell there isn't a centralized place where you can get the GPS coordinates for these places, so you kinda have to figure it out yourself. Thanks fully, that wasn't too hard for a couple these since they were on the coast at very specific places. It was just a matter of:

  1. Finding them in Apple Maps
  2. Taking off from the nearest airport
  3. Flying to the spot
  4. Going into “active pause” mode in the game
  5. Find the position and focal length of the shot in the wallpaper
  6. Shoot

Flight Simulator also gives you full control over the time of day and weather conditions, so I was able to get those pretty close as well.

The final step was taking them into Lightroom to do some edits to get them closer to the versions Apple shipped in macOS.

Flight Simulator is a pretty serious “make your own fun” game, and this was a lot of fun. Mojave and High Sierra are going to be a bit harder but I may give them a shot if I feel inspired again.