When comparing pheasants by photographs, you have to keep in mind the lighting in which the bird was shot. The photo I posted, though not the best, was taken in strong light with contrasting shadows. Birds with irridescent plumage such as pheasants can and will look very different depending on how much light is cast on their plumage. The bird in the other photo looks like it was taken in more overcast conditions. My bird(s) look just like that one when it is cloudy out. The rump appears more blue green rather than powder blue, as it does in strong sun. Apart from the three subspecies, the birds can and do show slight individual variation from one to another. Doesn't mean they aren't pure, the're just showing the individuality within a specie. Not sure exactly what differences your noticing, but they have already been looked at by James Pfarr and his conclusion was that mine were southern.
You are right about the contrast in shadows & such when it comes to photos. Perhaps why the best field guides are always prints not photos!! Between the two, I noticed differences in the neck & rump and yes, it could be the lighting. If James says their Southern, I would take his word!!