Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Amateur Photographer's 'Star Trail' Appears On National Park Centennial Stamp

U.S. Postal Service
The stamp captures the dramatic night sky above Mount Rainier. It was taken near Reflection Lake by Matthew Dieterich

Mount Rainier will appear on a U.S. postage stamp, as part of a series commemorating the centennial of the National Park Service. The photo used on the "forever" stamp was snapped by an amateur photographer who was working for a short stint as an interpretive ranger last year.

Matthew Dieterich of Pittsburgh, PA had just finished a masters degree in geology when he went to Mount Rainier as an intern. He had a passion he wanted to pass on – connecting people with the night sky.  It was his first-ever visit to Mount Rainier National Park. 

“The night sky was phenomenal. A lot better than I ever thought it would, being only 70, 80 miles from Seattle and Tacoma, with the big lights of those cities,” Dieterich said. 

He combined a series of shots, taken in the wee hours, using just his camera, a tripod and a shutter release cable, which kept the camera very still.

“The photograph — you will see just — star trails, kind of like big, partial U-shaped curves in the sky just because the earth is turning, and in the foreground is actually a lake reflecting the pink aurora,” he said.

If you look really closely you can see mountaineers with their white headlamps climbing on the right side of the volcano. The stamp will be issued in June.