David Kinston: I'm really conflicted here. To me the first attempt feels rawer, more real, more like nature as I know it. The final image is beautiful, like a van Gogh painting - I almost could expect Gandalf to appear ... a lot to note and to like eg the tree branches parallel the hills on both sides (was that planned?).
What is the intention of the photographer?
To depict reality, or create an atmosphere, or what exactly?
I'm interested in his response.
I think the intention is to depict reality at its most surreal. To capture the moment which everyone missed out, from a point of view which nobody noticed.I think this is similar to when I read a beautiful passage from a book, or see a beautiful scenery, or watch my love smile at me in a way that makes me feel lucky. And in all these moments I realize that if everyone could feel even half of what i feel right then, how wonderfully happy they would be and how they would appreciate this moment. As someone said in the movie "waking life"...."capturing the holy moment".
you could potentially crop the bottom half of the image (most of the sea). And see if it makes it any better.