Red Maple: Which do you like better?

This is one of my favorite pictures from a vacation Laurie and I took last fall.  Interestingly, though we were staying on the coast of Maine, this image shows a Red Maple next to fresh water.

I recently entered this image in a photo club competition.  The judge had nice things to say about it, but nevertheless scored it with a 25.  The comments are more important to me; however, 25 is a pretty mediocre score.  (Scores almost always range from 20-30.)

Here are the judge's comments:
Love the composition, it is pleasing and balanced.  It has a calmness to it -- the tree and its reflection are the clear subjects.  Beautiful colors without being in your face.
Because of the disconnect between the critique and the score, I talked a bit with friends at the club to see what they thought would improve the image.

One friend (thank you, Paul) mentioned the layer of white sky at the top... and that perhaps some might find that distracting.

So, below I am showing the original image followed by one in which the white layer of clouds has been cropped out.  I tried first to crop the original 3:2 aspect ratio image to 4:3, but that cut off too much.  The resulting crop is somewhere in-between.

Which do you like better? If you would prefer not to comment publicly below, shoot me an email (my "contact me" address is in the left side bar).


laurie said...

I prefer the one with clouds. No surprise? :o)

Unknown said...

I prefer the one with the clouds, which tend to keep your eye from wandering out of the frame.

Unknown said...

I prefer the one with the clouds, which tend to keep the eye from wandering up and out of the frame.

Terry said...

I agree with Laurie the one with clouds seems to have a little more interest, Just me though

Ken said...

Keep the clouds.