The trouble with scenes like these is there is so much information and deciding what to include can be a challenge. Painters new to plein air tend to include everything they see in their painting. Using a view finder to limit the scene can be very helpful. In a recent workshop our group was given the task of focusing on very specific areas at the above site. We were to paint 4 or more small (6"x8") paintings that were simplified close-ups of compositions we found interesting. Here is what I did-
I liked these little pieces much more than anything I have painted there before. The ones on the above right and the lower left are the exact same spot at a slightly different angle. I barely had to turn my easel. I liked the composition on the lower left the most so I painted it again on a larger panel. My only reference was my small painting. I did not use a photo.
Here it is (12"x16"), maybe not better, but at least I tried. Larger paintings require more information and it is easy to lose the freshness of a small quick sketch. That said, try making small studies when confronted with a big complicated scene. Zero in on something that interests you and see what you can do with it.
And thanks for reading.