In the spring of 2008, I needed to put together a collection of photographs to use in some upcoming projects. Instead of hiring a photographer to shoot a typical headshot or any predictable and obvious pictures, I wanted to explore the idea of collecting some shots in nature that just happened to include me. My friend and colleague, Kevin Stout, who is also a wonderful photographer, recommended the Valley of Fire, in the desert just north of Las Vegas, as a possible setting. He also suggested that we might consider getting there before dawn so we could take advantage of the "first light" of day. In the desert, once the sun has risen, many details and colors seen at daybreak disappear or become washed out because the sunlight is so intense. On the day of our trek into this wilderness for this photo shoot, I picked up Kevin at his home around 3:30 a.m. We parked out on a gravel road then hiked across a plain toward a grouping of large boulders where Kevin knew we would be in the direct path of dawn, where the light would reveal itself first. The experience of this first light of day was something I shall never forget, and is the inspiration for this collection of music. I knew at the moment I stood in the face of this morning that I would play this. Of course, I didn't know the specific music until the moment it was being played through me anymore than I knew the experience of day break, of dawn, or the very spiritual power of 'first light' until I found myself directly aligned in it's moment by moment manifestation. Although I am not able to repeat my performance of these songs, each time I hear this music, I do recognize the results of having put my hands onto the keyboard and surrendering to what would be played in the hour or so required to complete this CD. That it took me approximately forty-five minutes to play is in direct proportion to the time it took for that first light to begin to reveal itself, emerging through sunrise, finally bursting into full daybreak. The brighter the light became, the more what we saw in that world around us seemed to change. All those details were still there, but how we saw them continued to shift, as the light grew brighter. Yet the reality is that the world hadn't changed; the way we saw it did. Philip Fortenberry.
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