“In God We Trust” A Panoramic View by Ken Duncan
A Panoramic View
In God We Trust
Ken Duncan answered the call to show the beauty of God’s creation in America with a panoramic view in his book “America Wide – In God We Trust” and his message helped strengthen the American people.
Several years before the horror of September 11, 2001 Ken Duncan woke early in the morning from his home in Australia with words that seemed impressed on him from God. “If America removes the words In God We Trust from their currency, I will abandon them as a nation.”
Why Tell Me
That was the first thought Ken Duncan had. He wasn’t trying to be disrespectful to God but he was an Aussie and very happy in Australia and not particularly interested in America. He thought God should speak to an American.
Being a man of God, I imagine he must have felt like Moses did when God spoke to Moses from the Burning Bush while he was tending the flock. Moses, Moses, the Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt and the cry of the Israelites has reached me, so now go, I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt”. But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt”. Moses had big doubts about his ability to lead. He resisted God, bringing up his unworthiness and lack of authority, his fear of the people’s distrust, his speech difficulties, and his share cowardice, (Exodus 3).
Like Moses, Ken Duncan spoke to God. “Well Lord, if this really is You, let me remember this conversation in the morning.” He then went back to sleep.
The Following Morning
Of course the conversation with God earlier that morning was on the forefront of his mind when he awoke. He asked the Lord "what do you want me to do about it"? God spoke again, "Go to America and walk the land. As you go, I will give you pictures and words to remind my people where their trust should be". "But how, Lord?", Ken asked. "Publish a book called America Wide - In God We Trust."
Ken Duncan's Final Protest
"But Lord, I'm comfortable here." As soon as those words escaped his mouth he knew they were ridiculous for he knew he was operating in his own ability.
When he told his wife about the conversatons with God, she said we had better do what God wanted.
So Off They Went
God Has Blessed America
Ken Duncan's journey took well over three years with more than 35 trips to America to capture a breathtaking panoramic view of the heart of America. To his amazement he discovered more than physical beauty. He witnessed spiritual beauty and heard inspiring stories which he wholeheartedly shares in his book along with reflections on God's hand on the history of America with scriptures and quotes to point to the wonder of God's creation that leads to one conclusion: God has blessed America.
A Gallery of the Glorious Spirit of America Captured in Panoramic View by the Gifted Eye of Ken Duncan
(To view the fullness of the following panoramic views go to KenDuncan.com website, find photo, and click on larger image)
This first panoramic view is one of the greatest gifts of Ken Duncan's journey. He calls it the "Promise of Peace". It is a once-in-a-lifetime rainbow shot at the Yankee Boy Basin in Colorado, USA.
This photo was shot over the quaint village of East Corinth in Vermont, USA. Ken Duncan calls it "Peaceful Valley". He was delighted by the gentle wash of light upon the snow and by the brightly lit church glowing like a Thomas Kinkade painting in a winter wonderland just like a scene from a picture book.
This shot was taken along a magnificent coast in California, USA. Ken Duncan warns a man of the occasional huge waves that come smashing into the rock wall right where the man who came with his wife and children were taking pictures. But the warning fell on deaf ears. You can imagine what happened next. The story goes that it pays to treat the ocean and people's warnings with respect!
This picture is a pastel sunrise shot at Siesta Beach, Florida, USA. For Ken Duncan this scene gave him a feeling of fun and frivolity. He marveled in the wonderment that such places exist for our enjoyment. In his book he says that life is much more than hard work and worry and we should never get so busy that we forget to play!
Like a classic postcard, this panoramic view was shot at the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, USA. Scenes from this photo posed some questions for Ken Duncan. One such question, "What would it be like if I too were drifting in that canoe"? With the soak of the sun and the furtive movements of the wildlife he thought we all need places like this to silence our petty worries where anxieties may drift away in the face of nature's magnificence.
This photo is as bold as a classic Van Gogh with a vast crowd of sunflowers greeting the rising sun. It was taken in Kansas, USA. This photo is called "Seize the Day". A tornado had destroyed the farmers first crop and had to be replanted and this spectacular field of yellow was the result - countless sun bright heads stretching as far as the eye could see. It was a lesson to all who saw it that it's never too late to start over.
This panoramic view is of a rainforest giant taken in Washington, USA. This tree for decades had stood tall amongst the lichen-fringed creepers and referred to as one of the "great ones" of the forest plants. Yet it's last hour came. Ken Duncan has named this photo the "Fallen Hero" and for him is a symbol of life itself. At some point we too will pass away. The important question asked; will we stand strong and tall in our generation until that final day?
This is one of those classic scenes that appears too perfect to be true. It was taken in Wyoming, USA near the town of Jackson Hole. Ken Duncan watched as he saw other photographers come and go because of the heavy mist that morning. The experts assured him that he was wasting his time. "The mist is far too thick. It's not going to clear" is what he was told. But Ken Duncan decided to stick it out, waiting to see if our Creator had something special in store. Voila, the mist lifted finally leaving a few tender wisps which beautifully set off this magestic scene.
These massive rockforms are one of America's greatest natural wonders at Monument Valley, Arizona, USA. This area is rich in significance and legend to the local Navaho people. Back at home in Australia, Ken Duncan often walked with the Aboriginal people through their desert homelands and so he felt a sort of link with the land as the local Navaho's felt. In his book, Ken Duncan points out how much we can learn when we quiet ourselves and listen to those who have lived in a place for so long.
The panoramic view of these wistful waters was shot in New Hampshire, USA during the traditional "leaf peeping" season. Ken Duncan observed during this trip that most people were content to sit in the comfort of their large cars enjoying the colors of the fall from a distance. How glad he was to wander "off the beaten path" below Waterloo Covered Bridge where he could appreciate the most intimate details of the stream. He noted how much richer our worlds become when we step out of our air-conditioned comfort!
In this panoramic view worshippers gaze through the window inside this chapel at the "Divine Light" reflecting upon the magnificent Grand Teton range in Wyoming, USA. A delicate dusting of snow adds great charm to this sunrise shot. The light obscured overhead by wild and swirling clouds gave way to a scene that was briefly flooded with this heavenly light. The imagery of this shot is what Ken Duncan loves; the open chapel situated in the midst of nature's splendor, inviting those who passed by to worship the God who made it all happen.
The above view is a flooded salt flat that was taken in the Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, USA. Because of the passing storm and the blowing gale there was no reflection in the water. Ken Duncan stood in the sinking mud on a platform he had found on the roadside for what seemed like hours until the clouds scattered into this letter-X formation, a gift he can only attribute to the hand of God. The light broke through and the wind stopped just long enough to capture this vibrant pattern of mirrored rock and sky.
This is a classic scene taken in rural North Dakota, USA of an old Ford truck in a field. The man who gave Ken Duncan permission to photograph the truck told Ken that it belonged to his father. He continued to tell the story that soon after the truck was parked his Dad had died. The morning sun was not quite right to take a good photo so Ken Duncan used the lights from his own vehicle shining its headlights on the truck's lights and hood. The old Ford truck soon became a momento of the past as it came magically alive in the midst of the frozen grass.
The photo above is a panoramic view overlooking the placid waters of Wonder Lake with the smooth slopes of Mount Denali glowing magically pink in the half gleam of an Alaskan night. Ken Duncan calls this scene "Moonlit Majesty" as he recalls the intensely beautiful view and how the moon rose on one side of the mountain and completed a low arc over the top before setting on the other side. He sat in awe thinking of its deep reflected glory and colors as rich as sapphire, a scene that would forever stay etched upon our minds.
This shot is called the "Bayou Dawning" and was taken while touring with a guide through Atchafalaya swamp in Louisiana, USA. As the light began to penetrate, ghostly trees took form like menacing giants with outstretched arms. Ken Duncan wondered whatever happened to the hunter when he saw an old abandoned hunting platform. This swamp is alive and well with its strange noises; slithering and gurgling sounds that greet each new day.
This pretty sunrise shot at Bethany Beach in Delaware, USA captures an awesome display of golden light thanks to the cloud that acted as a giant diffuser. This is Ken Duncan's favorite shot of many taken of the sunrise because the positioning of the waves gave great balance to this image: one wave broken, one wave breaking and one that's on its way in. To Ken, this picture is like the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; a simplistic reminder of God's presence.
As this shot shows of the veil-like Havasu Falls taken in the lower Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA once the right light arrived the reward was this scene filled with the subtleties of texture and color. Ken Duncan spent three winter days camping in this area while other visitors came and left. He stresses the importance of spending enough time in a place to truly begin to feel its character.
This famous "Lone Cypress" looks out upon the dreamy dawn to the Pacific Ocean in California, USA. It is one of California's landmarks of it's celebrated Monterey Peninsula. To Ken Duncan the tree's symbolism is profound: a solitary tree on the edge of a continent; one individual against the ravages of the world.
This photo was taken about midnight with the full moon drifting over Mt. Denali in Alaska, USA and reflecting in Wonder Lake. Mt. Denali is usually cloaked in cloud and only visible for about 30 days each year. So it was a real blessing to Ken Duncan to be able to capture it with clear skies and such a magnificent moon.
This photo is named a "Woodland Sanctuary" and was shot in Colorado, USA. Everyone that Ken Duncan had spoken to on this trip had given their recommendations of where to go for taking pictures of wildflowers but most of their suggestions proved fruitless. So he finally gave up worrying about other people's opinions and decided to follow where he felt the Lord was guiding him until he was guided to this beautiful carpet of flowers in a field in Aspen forest. In his book he has stated that "often all our human ideas mean very little; it's great to just give up and see where the Lord leads you".
This is a view of humble beginnings where Abraham Lincoln was raised in Indiana, USA. Abe Lincoln was one of the most articulate, noble and visionary U.S. Presidents. One particular speech in 1838 given by Lincoln had a profound impact on Ken Duncan. Speaking of the threats to America, Lincoln said: "if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher." Ken Duncan believes this "threat from within" is America's loss of faith in God, and it was in that belief that fired his American journey as a landscape photographer. Ken Duncan's hope is that as people see the awesome beauty of creation, they will once again proclaim: "In God We Trust".
A Deal Gone Bad
I mentioned at the beginning the words that seemed impressed on Ken Duncan from God. “If America removes the words In God We Trust from their currency, I will abandon them as a nation. Go to America and walk the land. As you go, I will give you pictures and words to remind my people where their trust should be. Publish a book called America Wide - in God We Trust."
So Ken Duncan went to the leading publisher in New York who knew of his Australian successes and was interested in the concept. They were prepared to do a deal on America Wide as long as the words In God We Trust were removed from the title. Ken Duncan stood his ground. He knew if they denied God's purposes, all that remained would be another pretty picture book. And so the offer was declined. He knew if God gave him the vision that He would also make a way to self-publish.
God Was Faithful
The book was launched four days before the horror of September 11, 2001. A copy was given to then President Bush the day before 9/11 by then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, as a gift from the Australian people to the American people. Ken Duncan sent a letter with the gift. In the letter he told President Bush why he had produced the book.
On the morning of September 11th, 2001 (Sept. 12th in Australia) Ken Duncan awoke in the early morning hours again and turned on the tv to see a plane being flown into one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. And then he witnessed the second plane plow into the other tower. He struggled to digest what he had just seen on his tv set. For days he was in a state of shock until he slowly came to realize why he had been called to show the beauty of God's creation in America. In His handiwork, God's power and divinity can be seen. It was the RIPE time for that message to help strengthen the American people. And it did.....
To the Austrailian people, thank you for your gift and a special thank you to Ken Duncan for your profound faith in God to make it all happen by answering the call.
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As a landscape photographer, Ken Duncan is constantly reminded how wonderful God is, as evidenced by the beauty in His creation. It is certainly easier for him to bring these stunning panoramic views to you, rather than you trying to travel to them.
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