Alan, thank you for your very interesting comments. They led me to a few more thoughts on the photos:
Indeed their composition could be improved by cropping according to the sketches - I showed here the full frames. For the night photo I even put together (digitally, but this might be allowed here for a discussion-example) a mosaic of the left slide taken in portrait orientation and the right one taken in landscape orientation - the latter one a little bit blurred by shaking (not visible in the small size here) - at least the night photos were taken mainly with the idea to compare them later to the sketch - I stabilized the camera by pressing it to a lamp pole and used something around 1/8 sec at f/2.8 if I remember correctly.
The lighting in both scenes was difficult for slide film - and this gets worse by scanning (on the lighttable I can see better colors and more shadow detail). However I notice that I saw much more lucent blue in the real life night scene - I think I will try tungsten balanced slide film for future night photos. I have some Fujichrome 64 T in 120 format in the fridge - some of these rolls I bought in the APUG classifieds :-) If I read this correctly it will result in a more blue night-sky and it may have also rendered the roof of the dome more blue. The sketch helps here to see how 'incorrect' these colors were imaged by the daylight balanced slide film - as compared to the direct visual impression.
Thanks again, for your helpful comments!
I hope my thoughts on the comparison of the photos and the sketches are interesting not only for these specific images but also in a more general way...
I know a painter or two who automatically take very compelling photos without knowing a single thing about operating a camera or photographic theory. In many ways it's the same thing (doesn't apply to post-modern / abstract art).
At least a couple of the best, most famous photographers started life as painters. Bresson, Winogrand, to name a couple. Recreating by hand what you see in the world takes an incredible amount of observation. If you haven't done that exercise you should, it's been enlightening the few times I've dabbled in it. Start with a pencil and paper and just do a dirty sketch!
Disclaimer - I am neither a painter nor a photographer :D
Edit: in the last couple of weeks while I was on leave I watched this vid (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtcD84l9eUw) and that inspired me to go visit a bunch of art museums and study photos and paintings. It hasn't translated into visual skill yet lol but it has been a great experience.
It is all about composition. My parents dragged me though the Washington DC and Baltimore area art museums for years. Some of that and studying art history helped me learn about composition.
Originally Posted by ak.5447
I made a slightly related observationthe other day as I was looking at a wall of framed vintage photographs in a restaurant.
They all had very formal compositions, very similar to that in classical paintings.
Clearly, the photographers of old were aware of how you build a picture.
Today, most photos are a bit happy-snappy. Even those of famous photographers.
So, I can see were the criticism comes from, even if it's not justified in my opinion.