I've done a bit more experimenting and the best I can do so far is this.
I couldn't disagree more. Your second picture shows massively too much contrast (to my eyes) while the first one I thought "What's wrong with this? Seems good enough to me." It has good exposure, colour and the only thing missing is perhaps a little iridescence, but if shot 2 is the cost of getting iridescence, I'd happily live without it. (I must add - the thumbnails give the reverse impression, and the second shot looks good, but when I enlarge them, that's when I thought again).