If you're talking about a big puffy cumulus cloud it's pretty obvious. But from where I am right now, looking up I see grey sky from horizon to horizon. But visibility at the surface is good. All nearby metar's are reading 10SM CLR. It's just a tiny bit hazy, but I can clearly see a water tower that is 8 miles from me. But there is no defined cloud layer. It just seems that the haze gets thicker the higher you go. If there was a vfr plane up there at a few thousand feet I'm sure I could see it but I can't see any of the four airliners that FR24 shows are above me.
My question is, when there's no defined cloud layer, what is considered "cloud" and what isn't? If the minima require you to stay 500 feet below clouds, where exactly is that? With metars showing no ceiling how do you know where it is safe to fly and where there might be an ifr flight descending that can't see you?