beatiful picture! curious how many exposures you blended? and what settings you used? I have yet to get a good output from Photomatix
Thanks Marc. That was 3 shots at -1, 0, and +1 EV spacing. I don't recall the exact settings for the tone mapping except that the defaults were too strong and I had to back off the Strength slider and lower the Luminosity slider. I've not had much luck with Photomatix in the past either, so I was actually a bit surprised this one worked out. The tone-mapping produced too much saturation on the sunlit portion of the canyon wall that I couldn't satisfactorily fix in Photomatix; but some selective desaturation in Photoshop took care of that.
I'm beginning to think maybe the excessive "false contrast" effect that many tone-mapped HDR's have is a result of using HDR for images that don't really need it. The traditional case of bringing the expsure of the sky down to match the ground doesn't seem to be what HDR is best at. Film photographers used grad filters in this situation, and I think the digital equivalent (photoshop layers) is more effective than HDR tonemapping.
I think HDR worked for this shot because you had heavy contrast not just between land and sky but between different parts of the canyon (sunlit versus shade). So the tonemapping didn't have to try to create local contrast where there shouldn't be any. I'm currently editing some shots from Lower Antelope Canyon, and Photomatix seems to be doing a good job with some of these as well (except for color shifts and saturation problems, but since I'm converting to black and white that isn't really an issue).