I think you might have nailed it RPT. I think I am kind of seeing two photos in one... very interesting... and I still like it!I am just guessing - don't take notice if you think I am wrong...
Kountze Morning by param_s, on Flickr
Param, I like this image but it feels a little artificial to me... I'm not sure if the snow is too white or the sky is too saturated, but it seems to need just the slightest of adjustment to me. I just can't pinpoint what it is... Of course, maybe it's just me! Overall, I do really like it though. What a beautiful morning that was!
I think your eyes are drawn to the lower one third where everything in the foreground is in focus. This is in stark contrast to the upper two-thirds of the picture. However as the contrast of the lower portion is higher than that of the upper portion by a factor (I am guessing) greater than 1.5 (inverse of 2/3), and the snow provides such a compelling contrast background, you end up looking down. Force yourself to look at the sky keeping the lower one third out of direct sight and you will see what I am talking about (I hope).
When I see this image, I see two pictures - one with the lower part with the contrast and the second with the sky - I like the two pictures. I guess it does not work as a single picture for some... See, it does not "lead" you up a path to an object of "interest"... But then that is art - makes you think... What am I saying? I am am Engineer!
Thanks for the thought!