MONUMENT VALLEY — For the past 20 years Jim Wark has traveled nearly the entire world in his small high-winged bush airplane, at times living off his airplane five weeks at a time.
It's led to some remarkable vistas for the 81-year-old, including on one cold morning in January nearly five years ago as he worked for two days to get the perfect shot of Castle Butte, where the fog hovered around the snow-dusted, red sandstone towers in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.
"Utah's geology is spectacular," Wark said. "The color of the red rocks, the formations are endless."
His photo of Castle Butte along with five other photographs by Wark will be featured as a set of forever postage stamps set to be released Oct. 1 by the United States Postal Service.
The retired Navy pilot worked in Utah in mining until 1992 when he embarked on a second career in the clouds. Wark now calls his change to aerial photography "the best part of my life," and together with his son has compiled a portfolio that spans nine photography books, published photos in textbooks and magazines around the world.
The postal service calls the new stamps earthscapes, which feature photographs of nature, agriculture, and urban areas. The earthscapes feature images high above the planet's surface.
Howard Paine is the art director of the earthscape stamps. He said Wark's Castle Butte photo was one of several other photos chosen by Paine. His other photos included shots of a road house in Pennsylvania, a tug boat in Houston, a skyscraper in Manhattan and a geothermal spring in Yellowstone.
Monument Valley has been the setting for more Western movies than any other site in the United States. Unique sandstone formations, the Navajo Indian Nation and the Four Corners Monument define this vast, open desert region, according to Utah.com.
The earthscapes stamps are being issued as forever stamps, which always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.