D7000 Photo - Please comment
I've got to agree with you -- in my eyes, the first picture has something going for it with the lighting and "fractal"-like quality. Cropping the competing trees/branches on the left might enhance for me.
I'm not much of a photographer, but I know experimenting is a great way to learn a lot of new things.
One thing I'll be playing with is the "scene modes" (the pros are probably laughing about that). It's going to make the settings for me, but I'm going to dig into what those settings are and why they're set that way.
Also, after reading the manual, I'm going to get a good book on composition.