Sometimes it's interesting to see how an image started, as well as the final output. I think it may be instructional to do a few of these, and get comments on both the image before and after, the artistic/photographic process, and the techniques involved.
The pair here, I used the shadow/highlight function to lift the dark shadows of the pier. Then, I used levels to bring the sky and some of the mid-tones of the sea back, to balance a bit.
Not a great image, but I think it's improved for these manipulations, which are only possible in post-processing, not in capture.
Before - deep shadows on Pier, lack of contrast in sky:
After - lifting of shadows selectively on Pier, more contrast in sky and better tone in sea: