|Greetings from the Critique Club. My critiques are generally geared towards trying to help you improve your score within DPC, and not on any true "artistic" merit of the photograph itself, unless it relates to DPC voters and scoring. Please keep that in mind as you read this. Also keep in mind that I rarely score well myself, so this could all be entirely bupkiss.
Nice tone, I like that you managed to grab the falling snow/sleet.
Here is where we begin to see a little bit of a reason why this didn't make it into the 6+ territory. While you've got a nice lead up with the foreground path, the building that is the end-point to your lead isn't extremely strong or "interesting" in that 5 second voter DPC way. The big part, however, is the lean to the right that the entire composition has. It makes me feel like I'm falling over, and is a little dizzying. Straightening this out would have created a little more balance, and perhaps a tighter shot.
Playing a key element here, it is affected by the tilt of the photo, although I like the moody environment it portrays. I suspect that the lights might have been a distraction here, although, of course, it's a "Whattyagonna do" situation.
Slightly soft. Your aperature is a half confusing choice, as a larger aperature is usually used to separate a foreground element from the background. Of course, it's used to get more light in as well.. but a shot like this is much better handled on a tripod using a smaller aperature (f8 - f11), and a longer shutter speed. That you shot this at 2 seconds tells me you were on a tripod.. so I'd suggest that further attempts at shots like this are done using a smaller aperature. This will help combat the soft look here that I find to be a detriment to the DPC scoring type of photo. While fading out of focus is good in many ways, it's the two mid-ground trees here that point out the softness which I think hurt you a little.
A nice job on the duotone. It sets the mood nicely, and works with the cooler tones of a lonely, cold winter's early morning. One aspect of the softness that I was talking about above is that because of that, you seem to have had to do a bit more sharpening than usual, which has caused some artifacting in the tree branches.
Fits the Challenge
It's a Free Study. Everything fits the Challenge.
My Opinion of the Photo
An emotive shot that is offset by the tilting, dizzy feel I get. It wants to be calm and serene, but is fighting with the fact that I feel like I'm falling over. The falling snow/sleet is a nice touch, but also seems to fight with the serenity as well.. although this isn't necessarily a bad thing if it was the *only* thing fighting with it.. as it would speak to winter's true nature.
That tilt though, almost gives me a headache :)
Anyway, you scored pretty well for a Free Study, and have given us a decent view of a moody winter's morning. A nice job. Good luck in future Challenges.