I live about a ten-minute drive from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, and I go there often late in the day to wander around the campus taking photos. I especially like to visit during the summer, when school’s out, and there’s almost no one there. Cloudy days are the best times for photography, because I can use the chapel as a foreground for the cloudy sky. I typically shoot the scene with my monochrome camera and a 50mm lens fitted with a red filter.

On a recent afternoon, I saw the potential of a sky with only a few, unusual clouds, so I drove to the campus and took a series of photos.

This was my favorite, because the long, sheltering cloud is centered over the chapel. I find that composition more pleasing than the images that follow.

This one was taken five minutes later.

Taken a minute after the preceding one.


Taken an hour and a quarter later.

Sometimes fewer clouds make a more pleasing image than a sky full of white cumulus clouds, which competes for attention with the white chapel. In the top photo, one cloud and the chapel create a balanced composition and a tranquil, late-afternoon mood.