This is certainly a nice shot of a Pencil Cactus and Brittle Bush out in the desert, The cactus is sharp and well defined. The exposure on the cactus, brittle bush and rock is good. It’s what we always would have gotten in years past taken in the late afternoon in winter in the California desert.
This is just better, this is how I saw it on that day
This is the why
It’s not to make stuff look goofy or outrageous. It’s to make things just look right.
3 Exposures, +-2EV, Processed in Photomatix Pro 4.1 with the normal PT recipe > Photoshop, levels adjustmet and sharpening