|Click on the photo to view it in large size on black background.|
In this case after tone-mapping photo in Photomatix Pro, I applied one of my vintage presets in Lightroom (you can download my vintage collection here - for free). Then, in Photoshop, I used Topaz Simplify to get painterly look on the background (I left foreground virtually untouched). This way your eye walks into the painting. Especially when you view above image in large size (click on it to do that).
Is it still a photo? I'm not sure. I guess it's more fine art than regular photography but I must admit that I quite like it and given how many of you liked it on Google+ and Facebook, you seem to like it as well. It doesn't mean I will create only such works from now but probably will do so from time to time.
Also it seems that my free HDR tutorial eBook is quite popular with 200 downloads already in just a few days. If you haven't downloaded it yet, you can get it here: http://hdrphotographer.blogspot.com/2013/11/hdr-tutorial-downloadable-pdf-version.html.
Camera: Canon 50D
Lens: Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM
Focal length: 22 mm
Exposure time: 1/500 s ("middle" exposure)
Number of exposures: 3
E.V. Step: 2.0
Flash used: no
Technique: HDR, tone-mapping, luminosity masks
Software: Magic Lantern 2.3, Photomatix Pro 5 (Contrast Optimizer) Lightroom 5.0, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity, Topaz Simplify