I am using Photoshop Elements 11.
Open your photo. File>Duplicate to copy it, and close the original. CTRL j to duplicate the background layer. This is useful for “before” and “after” comparisons.
Here is my original, unedited photo:
Click on the Adjustment Layer icon at the top of the Layers panel, and select Levels. This is where you would normally begin editing your photo. Note that for this photo the rightmost slider is some distance from the body of the histogram. As you move it to the left, you begin to see more color. Click on the layer eye icon to hide the adjustment for a “before” view.
Select the top eyedropper, and click on the darkest spot on your photo.
Select the bottom eyedropper, and click on a white area of your photo.
Select the middle eyedropper and click on a neutral gray part of your photo. Undo if you don’t like the effect and try clicking on a different midtone. I chose a strip on the boat roof. You can always adjust the opacity of the effect.
If there is any portion of the “before” image you prefer to the “after” image, set the foreground color to black (type d), select the Brush tool and a soft round brush. Make sure the adjustment layer mask is selected, and paint over the section where you don’t want the adjustment applied.
Select the adjustment layer icon again to get a new adjustment layer. This time choose Brightness/Contrast. There is already a lot of contrast in the photo, but I want to increase the brightness for some shadowed areas. One way to do this is to select the portions of your photo you want to alter using one or more of the selection tools, but I will not do that today. Another is to apply the effect and brush out the areas you don’t want affected.
I then merged the layers, duplicated the result, and used the Dodge tool on some of the dark areas and the Burn tool on the rear foliage (rather sloppily).
Here is my edited photo:
Next I started over with a new copy of the original and applied a Smart Brush effect first. The Smart Brush is the large paintbrush in the middle of the Tool bar. It creates its own adjustment layer. I then selected Blue Skies from the menu and lowered the opacity after brushing over the sky to about 35%. Then I used a Levels adjustment layer and then a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer as above. Then I added a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to increase the Lightness but brushed out the right and left sides and rear foliage.
Here is the result of this edit: