Redwood, I appreciate your feedback. Thanks. I am here to learn hoping for more people will pinpoint the weaknesses in my photographs.
The photo was taken very early in the morning hence for the poorly lit scene because I wanted to avoid blown up high lights.
The feathery water was intentional as many photographers shot this way. Could you please suggest what shutter speed would be more ideal in order to avoid being called a fad?
This was taken further backwards and it shows more of the trees.
I think this new photo you posted is superior in every way to the first one. There is enough of the trees exposed now to become a significant and interesting part of the photo. There's more balance, more interest, and more impact to the newer photograph. It's enjoyable to browse around the photo and imagine where it is, what's going on around it, and what the photographer is doing there.
Ok, now about the water. You mentioned you did it because many other photographers do it. That's certainly true these days. And from that the immediate question that follows is, what is your intent as a photographer? Or at least, what is your intent for this photograph? If you are aiming to sell stock photographs, or sell post cards and calendars, it makes perfect sense to see what everyone else is shooting, and follow their lead, their style, and use those tricks. That will get you the sales, if you get good enough at these standard cliched photos. There's a market expectation for this kind of fad photography. That's one possible path.
Another possible path is that you want to do photography to show people your individual view, feeling, expression, and creativity. That is to say, thinking like an artist. Both paths take a lot of work, but different kinds of work. On the artist's path, you want to place more premium on thinking of your own way, the way that makes you say, "yes, that's me" when you look at the photograph. That requires more experimentation, more risk taking to find out what works and what expresses your desires about what you are photographing. So, in this photo, you could try all kinds of shutter speed and f-stop and ISO combinations and see what they all look like, instead of just following the crowd. Sometimes water can be very abstract in a photo, sometimes it needs to be frozen still to convey the feel you want and sometimes it can be flowing like this, if that's what it takes. In these photos, it really just looks like an effect. As an example, if you could capture the clarity of the water in pools, it might produce an entirely different feel to the scene.
Thanks for posting this second one. I really enjoyed it and hope to see more. If you think about my question, and have any idea which way you are trying to go, it would help anyone doing a critique.