In the stamp image from southeastern Utah, fog rolls in and around Stagecoach butte, one of the many red sandstone formations rising from the floor of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Snow dusts the rugged crest of the butte.
“Utah is the most photogenic state of the Continental United States,” said Jim Wark of Pueblo, CO, who is the photographer of the Monument Valley stamp, and four others on the stamp sheet.
The stamp sheet includes examples of three categories of earthscapes: natural, agricultural, and urban. The photographs were all created high above the planet’s surface, either snapped by “eyes in the sky” – satellites orbiting the earth – or carefully composed by photographers in aircraft.
In the top row is a flight over America’s stunning wilderness. While a volcanic eruption scars the forests of Washington State, fog drifts over the timeless sandstone towers of Utah’s Monument Valley. In Alaska, a wide stripe that looks like a highway is actually a glacier, an immense conveyer belt of ice. At its base, jagged white shards resembling broken glass are really icebergs, bobbing in a lake.
The stamps in the center row may look like abstract art, but they show five products being gathered, grown, or harvested: salt, timber, grain, cherries, and cranberries. In the middle stamp, center-pivot irrigation systems create geometric shapes — although bystanders on the ground might see only sprinklers in fields of wheat, alfalfa, corn, and soybeans.
In the bottom row, urban life takes center stage. Highways corkscrew around themselves and neat subdivisions sport tiny blue pools. It’s our familiar world, shrunken into miniature — and seen with the new eyes that a fresh perspective can bring.
From the power and glory of nature to the interaction of people with the land — in both agricultural and urban settings — each stamp, within its limited amount of space, represents only a fragment of a geographical area, which may or may not be typical of a particular region.
The Earthscapes stamps are being issued as Forever stamps. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.