Interesting process. Would you mind posting the origional foto... I'm so curious as to how far you pushed the effect.
Great mood btw!
Well, this is the original shot SOOC...not even a touch of manipulation. As I said it was exposed at -2 stops to capture the mood of the morning...remembering that the camera's only ambition is to turn everything into a mid grey.
In cases like this where there is predominantly a limited range of tones you have to deliberately underexpose, or if it was a snow scene and you wanted the snow to appear white, then you would over expose. I may have overdone it a trifle, but the effect in the end was what I wanted.
As a matter of interest, the close-ups you commented on were possibly taken with an extension tube or two...I often use them as it saves carrying a macro lens if I want to keep the weight down on long walks.