the coble oars
this is my work flow (work being said loosely as i love creating) its what i have developed that suited me, and my not be the most efficient way of doing things (iam always looking for smarter ways to achieve results).
I took 3 bracketed RAW images using the exposure compensation feature on the camera, imported them into lightroom(LR)(my image library/catalogue is its main use) , exported them into photomatix pro, combined and adjusted them in that program, then saved and exported back LR, where I place a faint dark vignette, then i right click on the image and select edit in photoshop. From here I then look for any dust/rain and erase that with the spot healing tool, tweak the levels and the curves tool, then using dodge and burn tool I really define the features within the image such as the clouds, should it need it (and it normally always does) i will adjust the horizon. then the very last thing i do is use the unsharp mask, before saving.
i hope this has not put you off, you can download a trail version of photomatix from their website as you can lightroom and photoshop from Adobe (no i do not work for any of them)
the other "secret weapon" i use is an crystal clear HD screen (recently purchased) that allows me to see the image much different from my old system, looking back at older images of mine; http://www.ephotozine.com/user/realgraphics-83399/gallery/photo/court-house-1293...
with the old system this image looked great, viewing it with my new system the image looks flat and lack contrast and structure.
perkjude I hope this helps you somewhat to achieve your end result. thank you all for your comments. Paddy