I have been wanting to try my hand at HDR for a while and having just upgraded to Photoshop CS6, I thought I'd give it a go. Unfortunately I only had one picture to work off, so I made copies in LR and changing the exposure to 1 stop intervals (I know this you should use the camera to bracket and this is what I would normally do, however I am just practicing technique with this one) I know it falls into to the obvious HDR category, but unusually for me, there's something I quite like. What I have tried to do is add impact to the sky using a graduated filter, which has added an opacity to it as well, which I think brings lifts the castle almost off the paper, or that was what I was trying for. I have also added USM and noise reduction (I know there is still a lot there, but I'm putting this down to stretching a RAW image down to -4 EC in PP). I have also included the picture I started with so that you can see what I started with. I know there are a lot of flaws in technique with the original shot, next on my shopping list is a set of HiTec ND Grads. However it is the PP I am after help with.
I am thick skinned so feel free to be brutal. However if all you want to say "Just bin it" please explain further.
Many thanks in advance
Landscape and travel