So I see you boys have been fighting while I have been gone!
But in the mean time I have been working very hard assimilating a few of your comments. I have to address a craft issue first, which is very embarassing
but I want to acknowledge it for others that might be hesitant to share a boner. Before you get too excited, I mean a real goof. I knew I had not HDR'd the photo and so I was thinking about the "overworking" comments etc. Much to my chagrin, when I zoomed in on the original (I don't know if you can see this in the jpeg) I could see these red, crunchy bits in the leaves that had to be the contributing factor. But the embarassing part was that when I went back to the original psd, they were in the background! I have spent the last couple hours trying to reconstruct what must have happened and the only thing I can come up with is that I must have over tweaked saturation and luminosity in ACR, opened it, done it some more in PS and flattened the layers before moving on. Anyway, I apologize for posting a "tainted" image.
To redeem myself, I went back to the original DNG, reset everything in ACR to defaults and started over. WB was set to daylight and exposure, shadows, whites, blacks, and clarity were bumped up just a little. ROY saturations were upped by ~50, blues by about 30, and aquas dropped to -100. Luminances for ROY were upped by ~40, aquas and blues were dropped (~-30). Everything else was default. I just wanted you to have a glimpse of my starting point before going to PS.
In PS, I did a SEP2 layer (high contrast structure), luminosity blend, 50% opacity, 50% fill. Then I stacked another SEP2 layer, lighten mode 40%/40% O/F. I increased red sat pretty high along with luminosity to pop the leaves, yellow sat/lum were bumped up just a bit, blue sat was raised by 13% and luminosity reduced -13%; nothing else was touched. Brightness/contrast +20/+12 respectively. Exposure in lower left hand corner reduced 3 stops. Added a BW layer with hi contrast red filter using multiply blend mode. Red photo filter (35%) at 50% opacity added some warmth. Another BW conversion with hi contrast red filter, normal blend mode, 30%/50% O/F to desaturate some. One more H/S layer to reduce cyan hue (-10), sat (-19), and lightness (-9). Image was finished with an unsharp mask 1t 100, 0.6, 0. I went through all this because I didn't want you to think I was trying to deceive with that first image; if you compare I think you'll see they are different and the redo addresses some of the overworking/crunchiness concerns. Sorry to have wasted your time.
From an "art" perspective, there was this terrific morning light hitting the tops of the aspen and those red, backlit leaves. There was also some smoke in the air from a big wildfire burning near Jackson to the south, which is the orientation of the photo. The smoke lent a certain greenish effect to the sky. Anyhow, that's the unvarnished truth and I am glad this seems to be esthetically pleasing and apologize again for the technical glitches.
Any additional comments would be appreciated on the updated image. I wanted to fix this so badly, that I have not honestly been able to digest all the comments yet, and I may respond specifically.