Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas postage stamps

click photo to enlarge
I remember doing a quiz many years ago in which one of the questions was, "Which is the only country not to feature its name on its postage stamps?". The answer, of course, was the United Kingdom, the country that introduced the adhesive postage stamp, the "Penny Black", following the ideas of Rowland Hill. This method of paying for postal deliveries was adopted across the world. Designers and artists were tasked with devising designs for the stamps, and unwittingly their endeavours set in motion a hobby - stamp collecting (or philately) - that was eagerly pursued by children and adults.

I collected stamps as a young boy and was particularly pleased when the UK's Post Office started to produce a wider range of stamps than those featuring just the head of the reigning monarch. Many interesting and often beautiful designs in a variety of sizes have been produced down the decades. Moreover, each Christmas a distinctive and seasonal set of stamps is issued and reported on in the press. Perhaps its my age, perhaps its designers exhausting the possibilities, but I feel that stamp designs are less inventive than formerly. Today's photograph shows part of a sheet of stamps featuring this years Christmas design for the 2nd Class (i.e. slower and cheaper) postage. The paper cut snowman and surround are fine but lack the bold, jewel-like qualities that I remember from my youth.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo Title: UK 2nd Class Postage Christmas Stamp 2016
Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 60mm macro (120mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/320 sec
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On