Get Your Work Out There: Photographer's Images of Ferns Licensed for Postage Stamps


Tech Talk: Cindy photographed the Fortune’s Holly Fern featured here with a Nikon D300 and an AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED at 1/100 sec, f/7.1, and ISO 400, using manual exposure and center-weighted metering.

Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia, is a favorite place for photography for Cindy Dyer, who specializes in botanical subjects, and it was there that two years ago she was featured in an exhibition of 88 of her photos. A visitor to that exhibit, who happened to be the wife of an art director for the U.S. Postal Service, saw her work and mentioned Cindy to her husband, who happened to be looking for specific subject images to license for stamps. Cindy submitted 20 photographs of ferns, from which the Postal Service selected five for First Class Forever Stamps, which are currently available for purchase online at the USPS website. Two other series of Cindy’s botanical images have been licensed for future use.

Cindy took her natural light photographs of the ferns in the field using a white foamcore board for a background, sometimes holding the board in place, sometimes setting it on a light stand, and tripping the shutter of her tripod-mounted camera with a cable release.

She is understandably delighted with the exposure the stamps will bring to her work, especially considering the “happened to be” circumstances by which her photos came to the attention of the Postal Service. “I guess the moral of the story is that if you believe in your photos, get them out there so others can see them,” she says. “Quit leaving them on your hard drive.”

© 2014 U.S. Postal Service

A collection of Cindy Dyer’s botanical photographs can be viewed online at