This re-post actually materialised in two steps. The first step took us from the original one, shown to the right of the text (the top one of the two), to a first alternative. This change was based on official critics from the 1x.com photo website. This initial re-post triggered comments from my regular fans on Facebook that countered some of the changes and comments. This resulted in the final version shown above.
The critics on 1x.com suggested two modifications to the original photo (shown to the right, at the top. Click to see a magnified version). Firstly, it was suggested to remove part of the sky to put the mountains on 2/3, which would add more stress on the reflection of the mountains in the water.
Secondly, it was also suggested to reduce the highlights, while at the same time putting more stress on the streaks of lights on the mountains in the back (as well as their reflection). In making these modifications, I also had to adjust the aspect ratio from 2x3 to 2x1. This resulted in the version displayed to the right at the bottom (Click to see a magnified version).
These improvements resulted in feedback from, and a discussion with, some of my (photo)fans on Facebook. Firstly, the idea of putting the mountains on 2/3 was considered to be a bad idea. Even though it might put more stress on the reflection in the water, it removed the nice symmetry that my fans appreciated about the original.
Secondly, we had a discussion on the vividness of the colours. Some of them (the fans) preferred the softer look of the original, as it was more natural. At the same time, having been at this spot, I know quite well that the early morning light did result in the colours as shown in the modified version(s). At the same time, anyone who has seen the initially posted version (right side, top one), might think that was the natural situation, and would feel the modified version is too vivid.
Recently I followed the tutorials by Elia Locardi. This inspired me to also experiment with combining multiple exposures. As you can see from Elia's website, doing so can lead to stunning images. At the same time, one might argue that these images quite often look too unnatural. Combining "moments in time" can be pushed too far. Elia's tutorials certainly inspired me to experiment more with combining different exposures. Feedback from my Facebook fans on other photos by me (such as the golden Porta Nigra., where I removed several "street artefacts"), also made me reflect on the style I seek.
Several of the responses from my Facebook fans indicated that what they appreciate in my photos is the naturalness, the calmness, and clarity they express. Which indeed makes explicit what I already was aiming to do implicitly. I guess, as taking photos is also a good way for me to relax my "rational brain", I have a natural tendency towards photos that express calmness. Interestingly enough, some of the comments on 1x.com were asking for "more to look at", or wanted the colours to "pop" more.
Exposing the contradicting feedbacks, and contrasting them with my own inner drive and passion for photography, allows me to become more aware of my own preferred style. That style does allow/need post-processing. I will combine different exposures to extend the range of light, and moments in time, I can capture. I will remove some unwanted elements. I may even "move" some objects to "tweak" the composition. However, the core values i seek for are: naturalness and calmness. I seek to take photos that allow the viewer to relax the "chattering" part of their brain.