Hi mossyoak! What pretty scenery! #2 is my favorite shot out of the bunch. Your composition the best in it I feel. The highlights in the sky are very blown-out looking though. Notice how there are no details in the clouds. I assume you are using a point & shoot camera? Its hard to get perfectly exposed skies with those cameras. A SLR camera allows you some room to adjust for bright skies and will also provide better photo quality as well.
#1 isn't bad, but it lacks a subject or point of interest in the shot. Your eye just jumps from ice to wall to trees to foreground and has no place to settle.
#3's highlights are really blown out and have no detail at all, which again is probably the camera. Your angle is a little strained as well. I think getting all of the bridge in there would have been better, as well as the bottom of the log. Its looks maybe a little crooked too. I might have tried a horizontal shot from a little more ways back and saw how that worked. Could probably use a little boost in color as well, but that can be easily adjusted in PP.
Thanks Flower Child for the suggestions. I was actually using a pentax k-x. I know it can do a much better job for this kind of shot, but i am very much so a beginnger and i have only had the camera for a month or two and i haven't had much time to do outdoor pictures due to the cold. I hope i can get out again soon to try shots like this again. I didn't realize until i got home that i had messed up bigtime on #2. I forgot i had my iso set to 1600 from doing some low light shots the day before. but my other settings for it were f/8 at 1/800. Any suggestions on what i should do next time to try and get a more detail in the highlights?
A UV filter works wonders and is pretty inexpensive, and I even have a nuetral density filter which is tinted, its like sunglasses for your lens. I've been using it a lot today in the snow, so it works great for things like that. Definitely get a UV filter though if you don't have one. It helps keep your lens from getting scratched too. They also have filters out there that are much more expensive but they are call graduated nuetral density filters and they are lighter on the bottom and darker on top which helps balance out your light.
If you don't have a filter or don't really want to go that route, just toning your exposure down can help a lot. -0.3 or -0.7 or even lower if you feel it neccessary. If the skies are really tricky (like your sky is really bright and your foreground is really dark) you might want to experiment with HDR.
Thanks Conner41. Flower Child thanks for the tips. I actually was using a UV Filter when i took this. I'm saving up for an ND filter soon, stupid college payments slowing down my saving for camera stuff.