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I can't replicate the above
however, the action it started with was the Surface Detail action I linked to. The rest, well, I call it messing around. All I remember was I duplicated the image in various layers and worked with blending modes (harsh light, darken, etc) and did a black and white layer as overlay.
You asked for clean sky - I went back to raw and redid it "by the book" with surface detail action, with and without the sky masked, and yes, it looks better with the sky unmolested.
First, pretty much straight out of Camera Raw, just...Show more →
My D7000 was more along the lines of a VW Bus with oil.,. Nikon eventually got it sorted with a cleaning of the extractor arm and mirror box replacement. I got lucky and it was taken care of on Nikons dime.
Love the new final image. Going to try it myself. What do you do for sharpening? I know a lot of people use varying strengths of a High Pass filter, do you? I use the Apply Image sharpening technique. A lot cleaner results, just more steps to it. If you are interested I can write it out here for everyone to try.