I am still working with the trial version of the NIK HDR Software. I am posting 2 photos today to show the power of HDR to create really compelling photographs. I was using a Canon 5D Mark II that I had on loan from Canon Professional Services. I used a Canon 16-35 f2.8L II lens on a tripod to take an automatic 3 shot bracketed exposure from my camera. The scene is the Bartlett Reservoir located in the Tonto National Forest near Cave Creek, Arizona. The setting for the auto bracketed exposure was for the camera to shoot a best guess exposure with the camera at 100 ISO, f16, and evaluative metering. Then the next exposure will be 2 stops under exposed, and the third exposure will be 2 stops over exposed. Focus is set manually, and the camera is set to continous shooting mode. Use a cable shutter release and hold it down until the camera has taken all three exposures.
The first photo I am posting here is the best guess exposure straight out of the camera with no additional processing.
Best guess single exposure JPEG file
HDR Image after processing
Even processing the best single exposed RAW file in CS5 will not give me the detail and tonal range I was able to do with the HDR software. As I have stated before, I like doing HDR from the natural look all the way to the craziest stuff imaginable. It just depends on what you want to do. It will take a lot of practice, failues, trial and error, and much more learning, but I am afraid I am a true HDR convert. Now when I look at a subject or scene to photograph, I will also consider the possibility of doing it as an HDR.