A View From Above: Earthscapes
October 7, 2012

A View From Above: Earthscapes

For those of you who are avid stamp collectors, a new batch of forever stamps just released by the United States Postal Service (USPS) may be just the thing for you.

Fresh off the presses are a new line of Forever stamps presenting the Earth in a way not seen in an everyday fashion. They are called the “Earthscapes” collection, and include scenes from three types of landscapes (natural, urban and agricultural).

The stamps, all chosen by USPS art director Howard Paine, showcase exquisite designs and geometric patterns, as well as geographic diversity. All fifteen stamps in the collection were created high above the Earth, either photographed by airplane or satellite.

Up first, we take a sneak peak at the beauty of the Earth through natural Earthscapes:

Great Bear Glacier, Alaska
Ice breaks from the foot of Alaska’s Bear Glacier and becomes icebergs in a lake. Dirt and rocks picked up by the glacier when it moves downhill can be seen at the edges and center of the glacier and in some of the bergs. The image was captured by the IKONOS satellite. Image Credit: USPS/GeoEye

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland
A shallow creek winds through Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Rich tidal marsh makes up much of the refuge’s more than 25,000 acres, forming a haven for fox squirrels and bald eagles and a stopping-off point for ducks and geese migrating along the Atlantic Flyway. Credit: USPS/Cameron Davidson

Next, we look at a few of the agricultural Earthscapes:

“Islands” of wood—log rafts made up of harvested timber—travel by water toward an Idaho mill for processing. This older method of transport has largely died out. Today the timber industry relies on rail and roads to transport trees and tree products from forests to sawmills. Credit: USPS/Tom Brakefield

Near Carber, Massachusetts
A Massachusetts cranberry bog holds a bounty of ripe red fruit. During the fall harvest, growers flood bogs, then mechanically churn the water to dislodge cranberries from their low-lying vines. They round up the floating fruit with booms, and convey it to receiving stations for cleaning. Credit: USPS/Steve Dunwell

In the last set, we take a glance at a few stamps in the urban Earthscapes set:

Miami, Florida
In Miami, Interstate Highways 95 and 395 converge in a carefully engineered, multi-level interchange. Off-and-on-ramps convey traffic from one level to another and from one interstate to another at this intricate urban “crossroads.” Credit: USPS/Stock Photo

Clark County, Nevada
Suburbia in Clark County, NV—the state’s most populous county — provides a maze of pavement, sidewalks, and single-family homes. In this desert development, swimming pools and clumps of trees provide some relief from the heat of summer. Credit: USPS/Stock Photo

The images above have given you a glimpse of the diversity depicted in the USPS’s latest collection of Forever stamps, however I have saved the best for last….my personal favorite stamp in the collection:

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, 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 in southeastern Utah. Snow dusts the rugged crest of the butte. Credit: USPS/Jim Wark

Now that you have seen them, you can rush to your local post office and get your hands on them. But you better hurry…the USPS has only released a limited number of these collections and once they are gone, they are gone forever.

Which stamp is your favorite? Let everyone know in the comments below…

Main Image Credit: USPS

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