Photographer Espen Haagensen got a surprise Tuesday during Apple’s mega-presentation: A colleague called him to reveal that the company was using one of his pictures as the default background of the new iPhone 6.
Apple had contacted Haagensen earlier in the year about licensing his image for broadcast use, but he told 9to5Mac that before the event, he had no idea what the company was going to use the picture for.
Here’s how his beautiful picture of the Milky Way seen above a mountain in Norway looks on the new iPhone:
Here’s Haagensen’s original photo next to the manipulated version Apple used for its background:
Haagensen took the photo that will be preloaded onto millions of new iPhones last December during a ski trip with the Norwegian Trekking Association. Every year, the group takes a train up to the mountains and skis for five to six hours to reach the remote “Demevass hut” (the building Apple removed from its version of the photo).
“I do quite a lot of starscapes and Milky Way shots but this was the first time I brought a decent wide angle and full size tripod to Demmevass,” he told 9to5Mac’s Michael Steeber. “There was a rather big moon so the Milky Way was faint, but around midnight there were some skies and the moon disappeared and I was able to capture a nice series.”
Haagensen posted his pictures on the site 500px, where they became quite popular. A few months ago, Apple contacted him about using his image for non-broadcast use, and then the company upgraded its licence to include broadcast use in July.
Haagensen told Steeber that it’s a “bit weird” knowing that so many people will see the image, but that he’s proud of the accomplishment.