Fine art and editorial photographer Stacy Bass has been creating evocative images through the use of light, color, and composition for over 12 years. Gardens at First Light is her second book and presents some of the most beautiful private gardens in the country—all composed in the glow of dawn. Judy Ostrow provides insights on each garden from the person who brought the garden to life.

This book, which appeared on our 2015 Gardening Books Wish List, is available for purchase on Amazon.

We had a chance to ask Stacy about some of our favorite images in the book and here are her comments.

In this image, we love how Bass skillfully captured the warm glow of the sunrise in the greenhouse glass. Photo by: Stacy Bass.

Having shot hundreds of gardens, you might think I was “over” the magic of the sunrise but really, the opposite is true. I still look forward to that moment when the sun begins to crest over the garden, and in this case, the warm glow created in the greenhouse glass was so compelling, I had to get this shot!

We were taken with how this image captures the morning light on the distant water, while the garden waits in anticipation to be warmed by the sun. Photo by: Stacy Bass.

This rather large property and garden is uniquely situated high on a hill overlooking the Long Island Sound and is essentially built into the side of huge rock outcroppings. The homeowner and the landscape designer (Heather O’Neill) decided to let the rocks take the lead and designed the garden to work with and complement the shapes and structures the rocks dictated. I spent the morning practically running up and down the hill(s) to beat the light! Exhausting but fun!

Here, what caught our eye was the reflection of the rising sun in the sculpture at the end of the path. Photo by: Stacy Bass.

When I finally decided to make a garden of my own, I created an idea board filled with images I had shot of other gardens that depicted elements that I was drawn to visually. I knew I wanted structure (so that the garden would look good in all seasons); clean lines and texture (more so than color) and that I wanted to anchor the garden with a contemporary structure or garden sculpture. This is one of 3 pocket gardens and it features a piece called Torus by the British artist David Harber. It’s modern, reflective and graphic and I never tire of looking at it.

The gentle quality of morning light evident in this photo convinces us that the early hours are best spent in the garden. Photo by: Stacy Bass.

This garden was a real surprise. The house sits close to the street and then behind it, this incredible rambling property unfolds. The rock formation, dubbed “Mole Mountain” by the owner’s children is home to an amazing collection of conifers and has paths up and down that you can explore. I so enjoyed getting to know the homeowners, Michael and Beazie Larned, who have worked and reworked this garden with their own hands for many years and who are always looking for new and interesting ways to expand it.

Each of the 12 gardens in Gardens at First Light comes with a handy reference guide providing tips for features shown in each respective garden.

Bass’s first book, In the Garden, was a best seller in the nature photography category. She is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, and New York University’s School of Law.

JOIN 100,000 GARDEN LOVERSSign up for weekly gardening inspiration and design tips

Get plant information, gardening solutions, design inspiration and more in our weekly newsletter.

* Required Fields
We will never sell or distribute your email to any other parties or organizations.

More about the newsletter

Follow Us Garden Design Magazine Facebook Garden Design Magazine Twitter Garden Design Magazine Pinterest Garden Design Magazine Instagram Garden Design Magazine Youtube