Dale, I can't disagree with you that "pixel smear" is evident here. However, much of the detail and apparent sharpness in the sun lit bricks is due to the sharp angle of the sun against the bricks. In the shadows this contrast is not present, therefore, some of the detail, which otherwise would be shown, is not presented.
Agreed that the sun does increase the contrast and apparent detail. What was astounding to me was the *complete* smearing in most of the shadow area, as though there were no bricks at all. I've been showing this around locally, and I realize now that people are unaware of how deficient their digital cameras really are. I would love to shoot this with a 12mp DSLR and Leica M6 film camera side by side for comparison. I'm betting the M6 would beat any digital SLR on shadow detail. My instincts tell me that digital is still lacking in some areas, even with the best cameras. I remember the inability to capture color in the slot canyons, for example, on one of the LL DVD's.