That is starting to look fantastic! I was completely wrong about the statue shadow, what you have there looks great! I think the sky could use a little tweaking, but that is looking awesome! It almost looks like an illustration.
I could never create an illustration like those. But with my camera, it's possible to create illustration-like images! I need a lot of work at getting to know what images would look good as HDR, especially when compared to that guy. He's awesome! One of my favorite photographers!
Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Bullets are cheap. Life is priceless.
I think the whole key is to have a really wide dynamic range with lots of shadowed areas and some really bright highlights. Then (if you shoot raw like I should have) you can pull the details from the dark and light pics and complete the full spectrum of details from highlight detail to shadow detail and make it look great. I still have a long way to go but it's nice to see some improvement. It seems like I lucked out with clouds being a very good subject because of their wide range of textures.
That's an idea. Each of us could post the three raw image files used to make an HDR and then others could download and tweak and put up the results. As long as we're on the same page as far as programs are concerned (because cross-platform, I think we'd create more questions than we answer), I think we could learn a lot.
OK, I started something up. Lets see how that goes, but I imagine people can just post in images they want others to work on as they like.
New Sigma lens (or rocket launcher, your call). 200-500 f/2.8!! Comes with a tele-coverter which turns it into a 400-1000mm f/5.6. Has a dedicated Li-ion battery for focus and zoom. Only 24" long and 35lbs, Nikon, Canon, and Sigma mounts.
On a somewhat related note, DPReview.com has started new lens reviews, that have a pretty slick little widget so you can adjust the aperture and if the lens is a zoom adjust the zoom and watch the effect on the sharpness of the lens. Currently there are only 4 lenses tested, but if they keep up with this, it could be a handy resource.