a lot of emotion in it, this is really a success And it is not cheated, you transformed a lot the ref : I mean, ok you took the landscape from this photography, but the photography make me feel nothing, and you really gave sense to it. So, I think you can me proud of your work. I love it !
I checked out the reference photo and I like your painting better. I love the tall, narrow shape of it. And the lighting and colors are perfect. I like the little character sitting in the tree. This piece has that special quality where we (the viewer) want to be in it - it looks so peaceful and beautiful.
The ref is great ofcourse, but i think you actually improved on it with your art knowledge and sensibillities. That is because a painter can do things that a photographer can't usually. For instance removing some of the leaves for clarity and adjusting the composition. A photographer must work with what he has at hand in such a situation, which is a challenge in itself. Great piece and so is the ref .