You can use colour to convey a feeling. And if you reduce the colours in your pictures to just a few, then the message gets stronger / simpler.
You can use tone to help lead the eye around the frame, but it is colour for me, that conveys emotion.
I’m not the same photographer I was 10 years ago. Where I once crammed lots of tone, texture and colour into the frame, I now do the opposite.
With early efforts, I think the high saturation, high colour, complex textures and busy compositions are similar to someone trying to convey all their points in one paragraph. As we learn to go on, we move each point to its own paragraph, to its own space where it has a chance to express itself.
I didn’t see the ‘steel blue’ when I was in Romania. It only happened during the editing and by creatively messing around.
I like to try to be as fluid as I can. ‘what happens if I turn the hue slider this way?’ and suddenly a steel blue colour leapt out of the frame. It was always present - you can’t bring something out that isn’t there, And once it was there: I knew it belonged.