Thank you, Walter, simple.
simple, I didn't notice the pipe but you're right, HDR brought it out.
I think near-HDR quality is still possible with single shots processed by Topaz Adjust, especially for landscapes with great-looking skies. Quite often, skies (or some parts of it) are blown-out because the sky is simply too bright.
In the shots below, I underexposed the shots by about -1ev according to my Sony A350's meter. The idea is to meter the sky properly, then bring the camera's suggested values down a notch or two so that the foreground does not become completely black. Topaz Adjust will "fill in" the lost detail and color in the foreground.
I used Topaz Adjust's "psychedelic" preset as a starting point then reduced the Details sliders to the following:
Strength = 1.00
Boost = 1.00
Threshhold = 0.02
Radius = 10.00
Then I increased the Sharpen slider to the maximum value:
Sharpen = 4.00.
I found that maximizing the Sharpen value to 4.00 actually adds to brightening up the dark areas.
I worked with the large image files from my camera. After applying the above Topaz Adjust values, I shrank the images to a width of 1024 for the landscape photos and a height of 900 for the portrait photo. Shrinking eliminates a lot of the noise created by Topaz Adjust. Further de-noising with Topaz DeNoise eliminates all noise.
After Topaz Adjust #1:
After Topaz Adjust #2:
After Topaz Adjust #3:
After Topaz Adjust #4:
I hope this helps. I learned from a Topaz webinar that, referring to underexposed areas, Topaz Adjust creates information out of nothing. I didn't believe it at first but now think I do.