I can see what you were getting at, Luke. This does look as though it must have been incredibly beautiful. Do try it again with a more natural look, maybe? I'm sure it wan't an easy scene to photograph...but I do really, really like the image and the design.
this is maybe a bit too HDR-ish to really show it off, but it looks like a really magical-looking tree... reminds me of a small forest I saw fairly high up in the alps a couple of years ago, the trees had similar mosses or leaves that were so fine you could almost see through them...
I think the original is too flat and the processed one is too over-the-top. Maybe I'll just treat them as layers and go with 50% opacity. I think more than anything, I need a break. I'm not even enjoying photography anymore (and it's the only thing I can always count on, other than the dogs)
I actually quite like the look of this. A bit like a Japanese print or a page out of a very old fairy story book. It stands out from the background like a fairy tree.
I realise it isn't what you see in the real life scene but aren't we also about creating images rather than just recording them?
Mate I reckon you're being a little hard on yourself. Yeah you can tell it's HDR, but so what? Still shows off what the tree looked like to you and I've seen this sort of thing myself - so I know exactly what you mean.
Damn our eyes and their unreplicable tonal and dynamic range....but then again it's all in the post-processing - so it's the brain's fault really