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Images of Renewable Wind Energy

Imagine PixelCraft has assembled a collection of images showcasing the growing renewable energy trend in the Midwest. As stewards of over half the land and water resources in America, farmers and ranchers are determined to be involved in the development of climate change solutions. By far the most impressive expansion of renewable energy can be found in the wind sector, which has grown 27% per annum since 2005, reaching 159 GW at the end of 2009, predominantly in the United States, China, Germany, Spain and India.

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Wind energy projects are farmers’ and landowners’ new cash crop. Wind turbines are changing the agricultural landscape both aesthetically and financially across rural Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois. These photos illustrate that wind farms are now found in many corn and soybean fields. Landowners receive annual per megawatt payments for each wind turbine they have on their property. However, shared ownership of a wind energy system can bring in significantly more in profits.

Iowa is the second largest producer of wind energy in the US, just behind Texas. Iowa ranks second nationally in current wind generation output with 3,670 megawatts installed employing 2,534 turbines across the state. (AWEA, 2010). Iowa and Texas are the only two states in the nation to manufacture all of the main components of a wind turbine — turbines, blades and towers. This has helped neighboring states, Minnesota and Illinois, to have a rapidly expanding base of wind projects coming online as well.

 

Environmentally Sustainable Economic Growth

Wind energy also stimulates the growth of rural communities by adding a long-term source of highly-skilled jobs. For every one megawatt of installed capacity, wind energy produces 22 direct and indirect jobs. Five jobs are added for installing turbines and 17 jobs per megawatt (MW) are added related to manufacturing. Across the country, the U.S. wind industry directly employs more than 2,000 people and contributes to the economies of 46 states. These jobs include the installation, operation, and maintaining of turbines and the manufacturing of the turbine’s blades, electronic components, gearboxes, generators, towers, and other equipment.
A study conducted by the New York State Energy Office states that wind energy creates 27% more jobs in the state than the amount produced by a local power plant and 66% more than a natural gas power plant.

Wind energy can diversify the economies of rural communities, adding to the tax base and providing new types of income. Wind turbines can add a new source of property taxes in rural areas that otherwise have a hard time attracting new industry. Each 100 MW of wind development in southwest Minnesota has generated about $1 million per year in property tax revenue and about $250,000 per year in direct lease payments to landowners.

All of these benefits are helping renewable energy move into the mainstream of energy markets. There are several benefits for our future. 1,000 megawatts of wind energy can power 250,000 homes and is the equivalent to removing the emissions placed in the atmosphere by 682,000 cars in the state of Iowa in a year’s time. A recent study conducted by “Wind Utility Consulting” projects that, within a 600 mile radius of Iowa, approximately $5.7 billion dollars in wind generation projects will be constructed each year over the next five years.

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See more great photos of the Renewable Wind Energy Industry.

 

Because wind energy is a homegrown energy, it reduces our independence on fossil fuels. This can help improve rapid increases in fuel costs. Distributed generation centers for community wind projects help safeguard potential terrorist threats to these plants.

 

Environmental Benefits of Renewable Energy

Wind turbines don’t emit any pollution that could contaminate lakes and streams. Wind energy also conserves water. 600 times more water is needed to produce electricity with nuclear power and 500 times more water is needed to produce electricity with coal, than with wind. Traditional sources of electricity are associated with air pollution, acid rain, global warming, radioactive waste disposal issues, and oil spills. Wind energy is almost completely pollution free.

 

Changing Rural Scenes

But wind power production is not without contraversy. People have widely varied reactions to seeing wind turbines on the rural landscape. Wind turbines are typically 70 – 94 meters tall, dominating the skyline. Some people see graceful symbols of economic development and environmental progress or sleek icons of modern technology. Others might see images of industrial encroachment in natural and rural landscapes. There are many ways to minimize the visual impact of wind turbines, including painting them a neutral color, arraying them in a visually pleasing manner, and designing each turbine uniformly.

Wind turbines are not silent. The sounds they produce are typically foreign to the rural settings where wind turbines are often used, but as turbine technology has improved the amount of noise has fallen sharply.

Wind energy production has become a significant economic force in rural America, particularly the Midwest. One result of the distributed nature of wind energy generation could be the democratization of energy production—significantly lowering future energy costs. That idea obviously does not sit comfortably with the few owners of today’s predominately fossil fuel-based energy sources.
How Imagine PixelCraft is Helping the Environment
— Ron Abel

The 2010 Quad Cities Marathon

Imagine PixelCraft has over two thousand images of marathon runners and race activities in our Quad Cities Marathon Photo Galleries. Imagine PixelCraft and Ron Abel Photography has been associated with this important sports event as official photographers since 2009. We have been given access to the start/finish line and as a result have been able to produce thousands of high quality photographs of many of the marathon runners, athletes and fans. This year we were able to capture some of the best marathon photos anywhere!

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The Quad Cities Marathon (QCM) takes place on one of the most beautiful courses of any urban marathon in the United States. The marathon highlights the beauty of the mighty Mississippi River and the marathon course runs past and through a number of Quad Cities landmarks, such as the historic Arsenal Island, the I-74 Bridge, and did I mention lots of river scenery. There are also bands, entertainment, along the 26.2mile course and dozens of hot air balloons drifting overhead or tethered along the course.

The Quad Cities Marathon is a USA Track and Field (USATF) certified course as well as a Boston Marathon qualifier event. This race is one of the most important sports events in the Midwest.

In addition to the marathon, four other events are staged at the same time—a half-marathon, a five-person relay, a 5K run, and a one-mile, walk-for-the-cause event. In addition, on Saturday organizers hold a “Fun Run” open to kids of all ages and abilities. Click here for more information about the Quad Cities Marathon.

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See more of the best photos of the Quad Cities Marathon.

Proceeds from the Quad Cities Marathon benefit the UsToo Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network. Us TOO is a grassroots, non-profit prostate cancer education and support network of 325 support group chapters worldwide, providing men and their families with free information, materials and peer-to-peer support so they can make informed choices on detection, treatment options and coping with this disease.

QCM Sponsors include: THE National Bank, Palmer Chiropractic College and Clinics, Trinity Health Systems, Happy Joe’s, ORA Sports Medicine, KJWW Engineering, i wireless Center, Rock Valley Physical Therapy, Happy Joe’s, MetroLink, Noodles, Iowa Cancer Specialists, GroupO, Zimmerman, Radisson, AT&T, Air Tran, Dex, Rock Valley Physical Therapy, Quad City International Airport, Darrell Bush, Imagine PixelCraft, Names Around Town and others.

With over 4,000 runners of all ages, the Quad Cities Marathon has something for everyone. From the fittest athletes and elite runners to the casual jogger, everyone seems to have a good time. This year’s marathon was no exception and the smiles captured in these great photos of the Quad Cities Marathon show it!

— Ron Abel

The Quad Cities Marathon – the Video

 

The Quad Cities Marathon

Last year I was fortunate to be asked to photograph the finish line activity at a truly great sports event. Imagine PixelCraft has more than 1100 images taken at last year’s Quad Cities Marathon. This video is a compilation of some from the 2009 Quad Cities Marathon. The 12th Annual Quad Cities Marathon was an unqualified success. A USATF certified course and Boston Marathon qualifier, the marathon is held annually in September. Henry Kipsang and Buzunesh Deba placed first in the men’s and women’s divisions. It was perfect running weather and a great day all around.

Music in this video is courtesy of the following artists:
spinmeister / CC BY-NC 3.0 Dream of Flight (Techno Twang Mix)
ditto ditto / CC BY-NC 3.0 Recommencer (mosquitomix in G)

This year, the 13th Annual Quad Cities Marathon will begin at 7:30 AM on September 26, 2010 in downtown Moline, Il. The event covers 5 races, 4 cities, 3 bridges, 2 states, and 1 Island, all along the mighty Mississippi River. The 26.2 mile run starts and ends in front of the I-Wireless Center. Click here to see the course map for the Quad Cities Marathon.

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See more photos of the Quad Cities Marathon

With over 4,000 runners of all ages, the Quad Cities Marathon has something for everyone. From the fittest athletes and elite runners to the casual jogger, everyone seems to have a good time.

— Ron Abel

A Note from the Canadian Shield

Canadian Shield LakeshoreThe Canadian Shield is one of North America’s most beautiful, serene, and vast wild places. The area is unique because of its climate and its large number of fresh water lakes. These unique characteristics provide habitat for plenty of land and water life. The landscape and abundance of wildlife also make this area a rich source of inspiration for fine art images and nature photography.

Also called the Laurentian Plateau, or Bouclier canadien (French) the Canadian Shield is a massive geological shield covered by a thin layer of soil that forms the nucleus of the North American or Laurentia craton.

The Laurentian Plateau is one of the world’s largest geologic continental shields, centered on Hudson Bay and covering 8 million square km (3 million square miles) over eastern, central, and northwestern Canada from the Great Lakes to the Canadian Arctic and into Greenland, with small extensions into northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New York, U.S.

This area also constitutes the largest mass of exposed Precambrian rock on the face of the Earth. During the late Precambrian era, fierce convulsions in the Earth’s crust resulted in a warped, collapsed Shield. The foundation of much of the ecozone is now metamorphic gneiss, a highly banded rock formed by intense pressure and heat. The region, as a whole, is composed of ancient crystalline rocks whose complex structure attests to a long history of uplift and depression, mountain building, and erosion.

Forged by Ice

The present appearance of the physical landscape of the Canadian Shield is not so much a result of the folding and faulting and compression of the rocks millions of years ago as it is the work of ice in relatively recent geologic time. During the Pleistocene Epoch (2.6 million to 11,700 years ago), the vast continental glaciers that covered northern North America were centered in this region. The ice, in moving to the south, scraped the land bare of its overlying strata of weathered rock. Some of this material was deposited on the shield when the ice melted, but the bulk of it was carried southward to be deposited south and southwest of the Canadian Shield. This material is the basis for the sandy loam that makes the soils of the Great Plains so agriculturally productive.

The advance of glaciers continuously plucked and scoured the land, forming striations in the bedrock and carrying large boulders many kilometers. In retreat, massive glaciers enveloped most of the landscape with great amounts of glacial deposits including gravel, sand, shale, and numerous sediments. The vast majority of inadequately drained depressions that were left behind, as well as natural faults in the bedrock, now form the millions of lakes, ponds and wetlands that give this ecozone its distinctive character.

North to south the Canadian Shield extends from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago to the states of Wisconsin and New York; east to west from Labrador to the western Northwest Territories. Along its edge lie many of the great lakes and waterways of Canada and the United States: the eastern shores of Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake, Lake Athabasca and Lake Winnipeg; the northern shores of Lake of the Woods, Lake Superior and Lake Huron; and the north shore of the St Lawrence River.

The forest that makes up the Canadian Shield is known as a boreal forest or taiga. This type of forest is forged by long, cold winters and short, hot, wet summers. Boreal forests are mostly populated by coniferous trees such as pines, cedars, spruce, and fir trees. The boreal forest gets its name from the Greek god of the north wind, Boreas. In the early part of the last century, vast stretches of these forests were stripped of the majestic old-growth red and white pines. The lakes and rivers were used as transportation systems to bring the logs in great rafts to the mills.

Wetlands of the Canadian ShieldLaurentian Plateau Whitetail Deer
These images are from the Border Lakes region of northern Minnesota and northwestern Ontario. This forested, lake-filled landscape covers 5.1 million acres surrounding Quetico Provincial Park, Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This region is part of the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota, and in Canada it includes La Verendrye and Quetico Provincial Parks in Ontario. Fine art prints, canvases and downloads are available for many of the images in our archive.

— Ron Abel

The Road to Essaouira

Marrakech Medina

Marrakech is not only a fantastic city, it is also a symbol of the Morocco that once was, and which still survives here. While Arabs and Berbers mingle in most parts of Morocco, Marrakech remains a center of Berber culture. Like many North African cities, Marrakech comprises both an old fortified city (the médina) and an adjacent modern metropolis (called Gueliz). Dubbed the “Red City” because of the red color mandated for the exterior of each structure, Marrakech was once the capital of Morocco and lays at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. The photographic and image making opportunities here are outstanding. Click on any image to go to our fine art archive and see more photos of Morocco.

 

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The town square of Jemaa l-Fna with its crowd of storytellers, musicians and the Koutoubia mosque whose minaret is visible from practically anywhere in Marrakech is the largest public square in Africa. The mosque was first built in 1147, but demolished since it was not correctly aligned with Mecca. The “mosque of the booksellers”, was finished in its present shape in 1199. It has ever since been a defining landmark of Marrakech, rising up from the low houses and markets around.

Ammonites

A three hour drive from Marrakech is the charming sea port of Essaouira. Along the way are a number of interesting sites. Ubiquitous throughout Morocco are roadside rest stops that serve coffee or tea and offer local handcrafts and fossils such as ammonites.

 
Moroccan Ammonite

Image of a large unpolished ammonite in a roadside stand on the road from Marrakech to Essaouira.

 

Ammonites were a type of cephalopod that appeared in the fossil record during the Devonian Era. They are related to squid and octopus. The modern day nautilus is their closest living relative. The ammonite shell had sections, with the living animal occupying only the section of the shell closest to the head. As the soft-bodied ammonite got larger, it grew a new shell section and sealed off the old one with a layer called the septa. Ammonites were able to swim, thanks to the unique construction of their shell, which was divided into a series of air chambers.

Moroccan ammonites have lots of variety in both size and preparation. In medieval Europe, fossilized ammonites were thought to be petrified snakes, and were called “snakestones” or, “serpentstones”. Traders would occasionally carve the face of a snake into the empty, wide end of the ammonite fossil and sell them.

The Moroccan Devonian nautiloids are among the oldest cephalopods. They were abundant during the Paleozoic era in the Moroccan Devonian sea some 350 MM years ago and are now found in the Atlas Mountain range of central Morocco.

All ammonites became extinct 65 million years ago.

Argan Oil

Argan oil is produced from the kernels of the argan tree, endemic to Morocco. The oil is valued for its nutritive, cosmetic and numerous medicinal properties. Argan oil and its byproducts are rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids. The tree, a survivor from the Tertiary age, is extremely well adapted to drought and the environmentally difficult conditions of southwestern Morocco. The species Argania once covered North Africa and the oil was sold in Moroccan markets even before the Phoenicians arrived, yet the hardy argan tree is now disappearing. Overgrazing by goats and a growing, wood-hungry local population have whittled the number of surviving trees down to less than half of what it was just 50 years ago. The species is now found almost exclusively in the Sousse region and continues to disappear quickly, UNESCO classified the tree in 1999 as a world heritage, warranting care and attention.

 

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There is a large argan plantation along the road to Essaouira. Argan products sold from this plantation are produced by a women’s cooperative that shares the profits among the local women of the Berber tribe.

The fruit of the argan tree has a green, fleshy exterior like an olive, but larger and rounder. Inside, there is a nut with an extremely hard shell, which in turn contains one, two or three almond-shaped kernels. When goats eat the fruit, the fleshy part is digested but the nut remains. Later, the nuts are collected by farmers to produce oil. The production of argan oil, which is still mostly done by traditional methods, is a lengthy process. Each nut has to be cracked open to remove the kernels, and it is said that producing one litre of oil takes 20 hours’ work.

Argan oil is becoming popular in the worlds kitchens due to its taste and nutrient qualities. It is hoped that the growing popularity of the argan oil on the international market, coupled with increased efforts in the field of conservation, will contribute to the development of the sustainable growing of this Moroccan relic of the Tertiary age.

Essaouira

Essaouira has long been considered as one of the best anchorages of the Moroccan coast. It has been a trading post for almost 3000 years, starting with the Phoenicians. The Carthaginian navigator Hanno visited and established a trading post there in the 5th century BC. Around the end of the 1st century BC or early 1st century AD, Juba II established a Tyrian purple factory, processing the murex and purpura shells found in the intertidal rocks at Essaouira and the Iles Purpuraires. This dye colored the purple stripe in Imperial Roman Senatorial togas.

The present city of Essaouira was only built during the 18th century. Mohammed Ben Abdellah al-Qatib (c. 1710-1790) was Sultan of Morocco from 1757 to 1790 under the Alaouite dynasty. He used a French engineer, Théodore Cornut, who had been captured and enslaved, and several other European architects and technicians, to build the fortress and city along modern lines. Cormut had been profoundly influenced by the work of Vauban at Saint-Malo. The result is an exceptional example of a late-18th-century fortified town, built according to the principles of contemporary European military architecture in a North African context.


Essaouira – Images by Ron Abel

Originally called “Souira”, “The small fortress”, the name then became “Es-Saouira”, “The beautifully designed”. From the time of its rebuilding by Muhammad II until the end of the nineteenth century, Essaouira served as Morocco’s principal port, offering the goods of the caravan trade to the world. The route brought goods from sub-Saharan Africa to Timbuktu, then through the desert and over the Atlas Mountains to Marrakech. The road from Marrakech to Essaouira is a straight line, explaining the King’s choice of this port among the many that the Moroccan coast offers.

The fishing industry is an important part of the economy. The kingdom has a total of 3500 km of coastline stretching along both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. For many people in this beautiful city, fishing is a way of life. Moroccan fishermen put a lot of pride and quite a number of hours in decorating their boats.

Shopping in Essouira is best done if you head for locally produced handcrafts, like shoes or other colorful items. The streets of the old city are narrow and filled with life, providing hours of diversion. An afternoon of pleasant exploration is yours if you take the road to Essaouira.

— Ron Abel

A Note from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)


Viet Nam – Images by Ron Abel

The lunar New Year celebrations are about to begin throughout Asia. In Vietnam, traditional Tết festivities include calligraphy markets and flower festivals. To welcome the Year of the Tiger, more than 8,000 flowers and ornamental plants are on display from February 8-21 at the Ho Chi Minh City annual Flower Fair in Saigon’s Tao Dàn Park.

At this time of year Vietnamese people decorate their homes with bonsai and flower plants such as chrysanthemum (hoa cúc), marigold (vạn thọ) symbolizing longevity.

Before the fair, as the stalls were being set up and the plants were being organized, the morning sun brought the texture and colors of the flowers to life. These images capture the natural beauty that can be found while traveling throughout Asia.

–Ron

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Luzern Afternoon – a Fine Art Photograph on Canvas

Nestled between snow-capped mountains and the sparkling waters of Lake Lucerne, Luzern is one of the most beautiful small cities in the world. An hour south of Basel and Zürich, Switzerland, and boasting invigorating mountain views, lake cruises and a picturesque old quarter, Luzern (Lucerne in French and English, Lucerna in Italian) has long been one of Europe’s most popular tourist towns. When Queen Victoria came for a holiday in August 1868 (checking in under a pseudonym), the town was already renowned, and a century of steady growth currently attracts five million tourists each year. And no wonder—mountains, lakes and traditional Swiss landscapes surround the town. Tourism is the leading source of income, and yet the city has adeptly managed to retain all of its charm.

Due to its location on the shore of Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee), within sight of Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne is traditionally considered one of the premier European destinations. Since the city straddles the Reuss River where it drains the lake, it has a number of bridges. The most famous is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a 204 m (669 ft) long wooden bridge. The Chapel Bridge is Europe’s longest covered wooden bridge and was first built in the 14th century.

Partway across, the bridge passes by a medieval octagonal Water Tower (Wasserturm), a fortification from the 13th century. Inside the bridge are a series of paintings from the 17th century depicting events from Luzern’s history. The Bridge with its Tower is the city’s most famous landmark.

Along the river are numerous charming spots to stop and enjoy a lunch or afternoon coffee.  People taking time to enjoy the sunny afternoon by the crystal clear water, one of the clearest rivers I have ever seen in a populated area, have a striking view of the Bridge and Water Tower. The mountains provide an inspiring backdrop to this beautiful scene.

Luzern Afternoon Fine Art Photo on CanvasLuzern Afternoon, a 16″ x 24″ Unstretched Canvas Print is a composite Fine Art Photograph by Ron Abel, printed on our premium archival, brightener-free canvas with approx. 2″ of additional unprinted material on all four sides to accommodate stretching.  After printing, a Gel Coat texture is applied. This process gives the finished canvas a pleasing range of light reflecting properties that vary from different viewing angles. After sealing your canvas with a 100+ year protective top coat, it will be carefully rolled and sleeved in a sturdy mailing tube and shipped to you via FedEx. 

Pathways – Autumn in Iowa

Autumn Color
Iowa and the Midwest offer a number of unique opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.  Fall in particular is a good time to explore the visuals that nature provides. In this image fallen leaves carpet a nature trail at Scott County Park in southeast Iowa.

These photographs are available as a fine art prints; for pricing click on an image. The images are also available for commercial use under a rights-managed licence. For a price quote, click on an image.
–Ron

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Images from Japan

Narita 10142009-0017.jpgImagine PixelCraft is announcing our latest collection of images from the Far East. The “Images from Japan” galleries in both our Archive and our Store explores the Bamboo Forest near Narita in the Chiba prefecture. Narita is a small town situated roughly 80km East of Tokyo, and is the location of the Narita International Airport.

The area around Narita is a mixture of rural and urban areas with woodlands covering the low hills and rice paddies in the low lying ground.  Each of these paddies is small and irrigated by ancient canals.  The hills are covered with Japanese cedar, Cryptomeria Japonica.  This conifer, also known as sugi, is commonly cultivated as an ornamental in the southeastern US and other regions having relatively mild winters. It is a rapid-growing tree that can exceed 60 feet in height and is used for lumber in Japan.  Intermixed with the sugi are thick stands of bamboo. Bamboos are the fastest growing woody plants in the world. They spread through a unique rhizome-dependent system, but arehighly dependent on local soil and climate conditions. They are of economic and high cultural significance throughout East and South East Asia where they are used extensively in gardens, as a building material, and as a food source.

The mild climate allows a wide variety of plants and animals to flourish here. The wide variety of textures and colors make for great photographs.

These woods, forests, and rice paddies are well suited for a walk or run. There are many paths, roads and unique vistas to enjoy in the early morning as you take your exercise.

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Check out all the images at the Imagine PixelCraft Store or for Rights-Managed and Personal Use downloads visit the Imagine PixelCraft | Ron Abel Photography Archive. Soon you will also find fine art watercolor and canvas oil paint editions of selected images available in the Archive.

PictureItPostage

What is It?
Amaze your friends and family by sending postcards and letters with custom photo stamps featuring your favorite image from Imagine PixelCraft. Create personalized holiday cards, custom wedding invitations, unique birth announcements and thank you notes that really show you care. Buy them today!

We have teamed up with PictureItPostage™ to provide real US Postage stamps created by Endicia™.  PictureItPostage™ stamps with Imagine PixelCraft images are printed on 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ sheets of self adhesive labels. Each pack contains 20 stamps. Allow 3-5 days for production. PictureItPostage products are covered by a 100%-satisfaction guarantee. If you have any problems with your order, Contact Us within 30 days and we will help you resolve the problem at no charge. You may need to mail-in the original order in order to receive a reprint or refund. 

Custom Postage Stamps

Image Guidelines
All images are reviewed to make sure they meet U.S. Postal Service guidelines before they can be approved on a stamp circulated by the Postal Service.

Minimum and Recommended Image Resolution
PictureItPostage stamps are printed using photo imaging equipment with the minimum required image resolution of 300 pixels per inch (ppi), but you may want to use higher resolution to enhance clarity and sharpness.

 

The actual printed image is 1.5” x 1.19” for both portrait and landscape stamps.

  

Shipping
Shipping is available within the United States. Packages will be delivered by USPS using the following shipping rates:

  • USPS First Class is $4 (delivered in 5-9 business days)
  • USPS Priority Mail is $8.50 (delivered in 2-3 business days)
  • USPS Express Mail is $25.00 (delivered in 1-2 business days)

All shipping methods include tracking. Allow 3-5 days for production.

Custom postage stamp prices:

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$0.64 1-oz Large Letter stamps (set of 20) $23.95
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$0.98 3-oz Large Letter stamps (set of 20) $30.75
$1.05 2-oz Large Envelope stamps (set of 20) $32.15
$1.15 3.5-oz Large Letter stamps (set of 20) $34.15
$1.22 3-oz Large Envelope stamps (set of 20) $35.55
$1.39 4-oz Large Envelope stamps (set of 20) $38.95
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$1.73 6-oz Large Envelope stamps (set of 20) $45.75