And a very good one it is too.I explain that this is a "mood" picture, rather than a specific subject
Yes, it is typically the case that when one "violates" one rule he/she ends up using another. Or it could be more the case that when a photo "works" we look at it and try to identify what magic rule it follows so that we can rationalize and objectivize why the image is compelling. Fact is, images that are truly compelling are so on an emotional level, and not because some identifiable, rational rule happens to manipulate its composition. I would suggest the above image's impact is primarily emotional and not rules-based.
The "Rule of Thirds" is not carved in granite. There are no "Rule of Thirds Police" ready to arrest you for breaking the law. You are permitted to transgress from the Rule but, it is suggested that when a photographer does compose an image without adhering roughly to the Rule of Thirds; the photographer should realize why he or she desires the image to be composed in this fashion.
I always like to think that it's "ok to break the rules, so long as the image works". If you break the rules - and it doesn't work - then you should have followed the rules!
What pleases me about this one so much is that I was arguing with myself as I was taking the picture. The camera kept creeping up to minimize the horizon. and and I was busy saying "Bring in more horizon to 'balance' the shot." This is the one I put in my portfolio of that session. The responses I get from people viewing my portfolio tells me that the camera what was really wanted.
I really like this photo. It feels like the sky is leading down to the bottom of the picture with multiple colors of the sky help draw your eyes in.