What escapes me is why these shots should be considered any less worthy of serious consideration than many others I have seen here.
Since this section is "The Art
of Photography," and since this particular board is "User Critiques" as they pertain to this art, it seems the overwhelming consensus is there is nothing "artsy" in the original image (nor, in my mind, the second image). And I don't mean any disrespect.
To me, there are 3 potential payoffs to photographing a duck in the water: (1) an exceptional photo of the duck, showing either exquisite shape or color [or both], (2) something compelling about the water itself that surrounds the duck, or (3) something interesting about the duck and its relationship
to the water [e.g., flapping & spraying the water, etc.].
I don't think either photo achieves any of these 3 potential elements well at all. The quality of the duck image is (at best) common; the quality of the water is (again, at best) common; and the way the duck is sitting on the water is nothing out of the ordinary either. I personally see nothing in either photo that I haven't seen in the hundreds of times I've seen ducks on the water.
I think a compelling nature shot has to capture either the form
... or the color
... or the action
of wildlife in its environment in some kind of attention-grabbing way that we don't get to see every day.
And, with all due respect, I don't think any of these images does this well at all.
Or at least not for me ...