I’m with Tim on the processing in that there is a wide range of very dark to quite bright in the images – something hdr could help with. You can actually ‘fake’ an hdr from a single image john. Just make 2 virtual copies in Lightroom or Photoshop. Process the original as neutral, one for the brights, and one for the darks. Then blend the 3 either with layer masks if you’re comfortable with it, or with an HDR tool. In this case, given the spotty nature i would think an HDR tool would be easier. Things like a sunset with a horizon, ‘bottom’ and ‘top’ i would lean towards a layer mask personally as i think they blend better. As you said, black and white can also help with that stuff but still tend to look better with an overall good balance of tones IMO.
As for composition, thats more of a personal choice for what *you* like, assuming you are shooting for your own pleasure vs commercial avenues. I also agree with Tim here in that different angles can help. I tend to favor low personally as i feel it adds a lot more depth. When i am shooting i often think back to something I heard Scott Kelby say – ‘your image should not look like you walked up and snapped a photo that anyone else in the same spot would take’. I always have knee pads and mud boots with me 🙂
looks like a nice area with lots of good photo opportunities 🙂