Quick Shot(s): Dark & Moody or Bright & Lively?

There's been a lot of ramblings about camera equipment here lately, so today we'll get back to the photography with this duo of photos.....

These are two very different images of the same set of trees that I came upon during a long hike this weekend. I couldn't decide which composition I preferred as I framed the shot, so took both and figured I'd work it out later when I could review them on my computer.... but I figure I'll share both because it might help you.

The two photographs were made with the same camera (Leica SL) and same lens. I am standing in the same place for both - the difference is that I crouched down a few feet on one to include more eye-level perspective on the shrubs and underexposed one image by -1/2 stop. But look at what a different feel these images have! One is darker and more moody, while the other is bright and lively.

The point is, composition and photographic technique will have more to do with storytelling than the equipment you carry. It doesn't matter what brand that camera is if you don't know how to use it to get the results you want.

Which of these two photos do you prefer? Dark and moody or bright and lively? Comment and let me know!