Thanks all. Useful critiques all around and they give plenty of food for thought.
1. I really will consider cloning out the plants on the RHS of the first image. I liked having them there to provide a destination for the viewer's eye as it moved left to right along the ridges; but, trying the image without them is certainly worth the effort.
The halo is the after effect of some dodging. It is invisible when viewing full size, but, I should deal with it for web posting.
2. I was lying flat on my stomach and as close as my tripod legs would allow. Lower and closer wasn't really an option. If I go back I would remove my centre column and I could get another couple inches down.
3. I really dislike the idea of cropping through the log! If you don't like the log as subject, you don't like the image. I doubt cropping will save/improve the overall composition at all.
4. Would you guys prefer the second image without the tree on the left?
Thanks again! Oh, and the first image was shot in colour and converted in Lightroom.
One last thing, may I ask why "the footprints in the foreground bother me"? Curiosity here only. I cold easily have wiped them out. I liked the detail they gave and sense of a human presence now gone.