Ray, you could have gotten a few things out of using HDR in those images.
By supersampling the image into 32-bit space, you could have increased the fidelity on the low tones after tonemapping, and sculpted the shoulder on the highlights, perhaps to be a bit more like slide film. I think both of these would have been extremely beneficial. There was a lot of good detail in the trees that would have been less vague, and you could have preserved a bit of the gradation in the sunset. You could have done all this without intrusive artifacts.