Getting to the second half of the photo was like being punched in the stomach. Mankind has so many troubles among its own kind, why go out of our way to make problems with nature, too. *sigh* Gorgeous detail in the actual photography, of course.
Oh, good grief, I thought the "contrasting" images were you asking an opinion on cropping or something (this was just looking at the thumbnail), but now that I see it full-size... I am appalled. Depressing.
The main difference is the lens? I'd say the main difference is some heavy logging is evident in the second one. There are some areas here in Oregon where you can see areas where they once clear cut, there will be a line of taller trees and next to it will be shorter trees or even no trees at all. Fortunately it is illegal to clear cut here now.