Of course in May 2013 (first photo) it was greener. The green not only provides more colour but it provides more contrast against the brown/black cliffs.
At 2 in the afternoon (first photo), the light happens to be perpendicular to the scene – again more contrast. In the second photo (9 in the morning), the light is behind the camera – directly on the subject – flat – providing very little contrast. in general, the only time you want light directly on the subject is for birds and animals. For pictures taken at the cliffs, all the ones with the light directly towards the cliffs were deleted. None of them were any good – no surprise.
The other problem with the light direction: besides increasing the contrast in the cliffs, side-lighting generally results in bluer skies. You can accentuate that with a polarizing filter. These filters don’t work when facing directly into or away from the sun.
Water and Wind: I like water photos to be calm. Ripple is ugly in my opinion – angry and not something I want to see. Quiet water also reflects the clouds.