Clouds Over Big Sur, CA is a photograph taken within a hundred feet of the Pacific Ocean. Lying on my back in a field of grass, feeling relaxed and drowsy, I opened my eyes and saw an extraordinary pattern and drift of clouds—a sky I’d never seen. Of course that’s understandable. I’d spent my life on the east coast under a sky whose normally bland architecture is shaped by different conditions of wind and moisture.

I’m happy this is a black-and-white, and not a color, photograph. The blue sky, which was dazzling in its own way, would have distracted from the splendidly symmetrical dance of the clouds—a fleeting gift of the natural world. And isn’t it strange to think that ten minutes later this confection of clouds would have—except for this photograph—disappeared forever?

  • Edition: 2/15
  • Subject Matter: 2/15 Edition 2000
  • Current Location: Duke South
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