Issues of HDR aside, I really love the "mood" of your final image. Very nice. The experience you relate here is a great reminder of why shooting multiple exposures and trying different techniques in post is so powerful. You may have started out to use HDR for a challenging exposure situation but had the raw images to go another way in response to feedback. Thanks for sharing.Thanks. Here's another one that turned out good (IMHO) without HDR.
On here it looks far too dark though, this is still nothing like what it looks like under LR on my monitor.
I hope I don't get banned from this Forum because of this..(I Mean posting non-HDR shots in a HDR Forum)....
Anyway, I'll still be stuck with the noise problem next time I try HDR.