Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful replies. I really appreciate that! The pictures were taken at different periods (the first one this winter, the second one last spring), and are from different groves (and with different types of olive trees as well!), hence, the differences in color, texture and light quality.
- See what it looks like with a crop at the right ending up with approximately square photo. My suggestion is lose the foremost tree on the next row over (so crop where the branch/trunk of the first tree;
- Try to brighten up the darks of the trunks as maybe there is some of that interesting bark texture hiding in there; and,
- Maybe darken the sunlight parts of the grass just ever so slightly as it is a bit bright in the center to upper-right.
Andrew, thanks for the suggestions. The quality of light and the heavily textured bark in the foremost tree was the most prominent feature that I wanted to bring out in the second image, whereas the "sea of grass" and the diagonal arrangement was what drew me to the first image. I will try to brighten the bark of the tree in the first image but I will suspect there won't be anything interest there in terms of texture...
I like them both. I have a few similar images from Portugal, which also has many olive trees surrrounded by poppies and wildflowers. The difference I see is in my recollection, the colour contrast between the olive leaves and grasses was much stronger. Perhaps that's just my recollection. Maybe the light was more direct and stronger than it looks in your images. The second has somewhat stronger shadows and a more varied pattern without being too complex, so that is the one I like best.
John: the first photo was taken during a cloudy day, whereas the second one was made in the afternoon, when light wasn't very strong. Under strong sunlight, unfortunately all the texture in the grass or the bark would simply not be there.
... And both look a trifle oversharpened to me.
Mike: That's interesting! Before posting, I felt that the first one was not sharpened enough (I used the PK Sharpener plugin). The second one looks very close to my recollection of the scene. There was a major difference in the quality of light between the two images - the second one benefiting from clearer air. Still, I'll give it another go :-)
Thanks Christos for your images here. For me, something isn't quite right with the processing, and as mentioned by Mike I think they are oversharpened. Although the bark on the image on the right is more interesting, I think the composition isn't working.
For some reason the green colour isn't quite right either for me. I'm not sure whether it's the time of day or the processing. Both images have very different green hues in the grass.
There are lovely textures with the leaves of the olives and blades of grass, and the textures of the trunks. What about trying a Black and white conversion to highlight these textures. I don't have access to a computer with photoshop for a week or so to have a play, so I would like to see how they would work in B&W if you get a chance.
Julie, as I mentioned above, I was feeling that the first image was not even sharpened enough! (used very moderate settings in the PK Sharpener plugin). The second one is very close to my recollection of the scene. In terms of the color differences, please see my opening comment in the post. Thanks also for your offer to try my images in B&W. If you have a chance, please go ahead and give it a try. In the meantime, here is my attempt on the first one (the second one belongs firmly to a "world of color" in my opinion).
Thanks again for your comments.