That it a very instructive example, and a very nice image indeed.
When setting the exposure, what made you confident that you would be able to bring the shadows back ?
When doing ETTR I am always afraid that I'll loose quality by pushing the shadows too hard in post, and I have troubles trusting the camera's histogram because it is, after all, only an interpretation made by the camera's JPEG engine (from what I understand). Did you learned to interpret your specific camera's image preview, or did you know by looking at the scene that the DR didn't exceeded the sensor's capabilities, or did you measure the scene's DR just to be sure ?
I hope this is not too much to ask, in all cases thank you for your answer ! (edit : I am of course very much interested in anyone's advice regarding ETTR and shadow recovery in post !)
[Do] not [...] let the possible and available technical tools override your inner aesthetic sensibility
In my humble opinion, this is the kind of simple
concept that help a LOT, thanks for that. Although I have read and heard it (or the idea your sentence conveys) before, it is always good to read it from someone with such an extensive experience.
PS : Please excuse my grammar, this it not my mother language (note to self : c/p this sentence as a signature)