Early morning fog rolls in on a snow-capped butte in southeastern Utah’s Monument Valley. The sunrise to the east illuminates one side while the other remains dark.
The butte is one of 15 forever stamps in the new Earthscapes collection from the U.S. Postal Service that features various aerial photographs from around the nation. The images include a geothermal spring in Yellowstone National Park, salt evaporation ponds, and a cranberry harvest as well as many more from states including Alaska, Washington and Massachusetts.
Jim Wark was the photographer for five of the 15 stamps in the collection including the one the Stagecoach Butte in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Monument Valley straddles the border between Utah and Arizona.
“Utah is the most photogenic state of the continental U.S. Aslaska may be a contender, but the geology of Utah is better,” Wark said.
He took the photograph of the butte while flying over in an plane. The side of the plane opens up in a four foot wide, three foot high hole.
“I try to take the pictures that the other guy doesn’t have,” Wark said.
The Earthscapes collection is inspired partially by the success of the Cloudscapes collection issued five years ago but also in order to encourage a new generation of stamp collectors because October is National Stamp Collecting Month.
Brian Sperry from U.S. Postal Service Corporate Communications said, “We’re hoping these stamps will inspire people of all ages, especially the younger generation, to become interested in collecting stamps, as it is a relatively inexpensive hobby and very educational.”
Sperry hopes the stamps will inspire people to write letters. “Emails can’t compare to the warmth and personal nature of a written card or letter,” Sperry said. “I would encourage everyone to buy a sheet of the Earthscapes stamps and put pen to paper and reach out to someone, maybe an old friend or a distant family member. It will make their day in a way an email would not.”
Sperry loves the beauty of the stamps and believes they provide a unique view of of the nation. “It’s our familiar world, shrunken into miniature — and seen from a fresh perspective,” Sperry said.
The Earthscapes collection went on sale on Oct. 1 at post offices nationwide.
The choice of subjects comes in large part from citizens. The public can submit suggestions for stamps and a Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee recommends stamp proposals to the Postmaster General each year.
The Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee looks for stamp subjects that are both interesting and educational.
The Monument Valley stamp is not the first time Utah has been featured on U.S. stamps, the first time being in 1934 and depicted the Great White Throne in Zion’s National Park.