|Hi Mark, greetings from the Critique Club!
Regarding your photo:
Your sharpness and bokeh is great, we can really feel the cold in the picture just by looking at the ice on the lantern.
I don't think the black bar hurt this photo, in fact it adds a strong balance point for the rest. I just wish there was some more space above or under the lantern, like this in the middle is not the most perfect position for it. Also, a wee tiny bit of the ice was cut from the photo.
Technique / Lighting
Very moody shot, at 1/40 it's amazing the clarity of this photo. Your DOF is brilliant for this photo, the background is just so slightly blurred as to enhance the front element.
I would probably try to tweak the white balance of the snow, since it's a bit blue instead of white, but since this being basic then it would mean that probably the lantern light would be off. Still, I'd like to see a whiter picture. The contrast is great!
If you have any questions feel free to contact me.