#1. The light in the first one doesn't add/create any depth or feel or character to the image, it looks bland and almost over exposed. It's out of focus around the eyes, it seems to have locked a 1/2 inch in front of your eyes as the lips and beard seem sharper, also . There is no definition/seperation between the chin, the jaw bone and the neck, try standing off square to the camera and look back to it while altering the height of the camera too. The facial expression tells nothing of the person in the picture, it's not a passport photo (is it?) so what about taking your face off square to the camera and just let your eyes look straight in to it? The skin tones & hair colour don't contrast well from the background colours, probably where the bland feel is coming from.
#2. Nice shot. Lovely vivid contrasting colours.
I do think though that this shot would have benefitted very well from a white or gold reflector at your left hand directing light up under your hat. It's just a little bit too dark under there so a reflector would have brightened it up gently but retained the nice lines of the sunlight.
Zada: Thanks, you've made my day. Especially on this particular day.
Shorty: Thanks. I screwed the eyes up.
Lifeafter2am: Trust me, there's absolutely no deep thought happening.
Nossie: Thanks for your observations and feedback. That's the sort of info I need/want. The self's are difficult for me to hit. This was the first time I tried to work on the eyes. I was able to remove the red roadmaps, remove some of the bags, but my dodging/burning attempts to brighten the eyes went awry and I have yet gotten to adjust skin tone other than small tweaks through levels and curves.