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Aqua man

Meet photographer behind three river stamps

Bob Wick holds an oversized version of a Wild and Scenic Rivers stamp that showcases his photograph of the Deschutes River in Oregon.

Bob Wick shot three of the photographs featured on the Postal Service’s new Wild and Scenic Rivers stamp pane.

“They’re my smallest enlargements but my biggest thrill,” he said.

Wick, a California-based wilderness specialist for the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), said having his work featured on stamps is “different than having an image go viral online. I can tell friends and family to go to a Post Office and pick these up.”

Wick’s images on the 12-stamp pane, which USPS released in May, show the White Cliffs section of the Missouri River in Montana, the Clarion River in Pennsylvania and Oregon’s Deschutes River.

Each scene reflects a multi-day effort, with dozens of shots involved, according to Wick, a self-taught photographer whose BLM portfolio — in the public domain — includes widely seen images such as California’s wildflower super bloom,” Alaska’s northern lights and the distinctive-looking western sage grouse.

BLM, one of four federal agencies responsible for the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, assigned Wick to shoot the Missouri, Clarion, Deschutes and other areas as part of outreach efforts around last year’s 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.

The challenge was a natural fit for Wick, whose passion for the outdoors spills over beyond his conservation-oriented professional role, for which photography is a collateral duty.

“I get excited about beautiful, sweeping landscapes, so I’ve honed my skills to capture that beauty and share it with others,” he said.

Wick, who grew up near the Ohio River in Pennsylvania, has long been drawn to rivers, though his connection to them has changed over time.

“In college, I learned about the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act academically,” Wick said. “The allure of rivers has evolved with the knowledge that they can be protected. Rivers have a primal energy I connect to.”

And to share that connection on postage stamps?

“It’s a great honor,” he said.

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