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Hi Charlie, thanks for taking a look and commenting. Please feel free to download this image and rework it for experimentation, might be good!
In the meantime I redid it with more brightness and contrast. I was not sure what you meant by 'varying degrees'.
It looks to me like the brighter version has lost some its 'mystery' and interest that brings the user into it to see what the heck the image is. They are affected somehow and respond through the engagement, leaving with whatever the artist's intent for that encounter was. In my case I just wanted to share a view of nature I found beautiful in the way I processed it. Nothing major. Hopefully the viewer will leave with a wider sense of wonderment, and as in your case, 'what would it look like if'... As with all art, YMMV.
Here is the redone image, and thanks again.
Brighter Solar leaves
NIKON D7000 200mm f/7.1 1/1000s 1000 ISO -0.3 EV