Short and sweet. I use HDR more than I don’t. When I do use HDR I prefer the subtle approach believing less is more. I’m not attacking anyone else’s style. I’m just saying that’s the way I prefer it. I like it so subtle that I don’t use it in the conventional way. I primarily use HDR (tools like Photomatix Pro or Nik HDR Efex Pro) to bring out detail. In other words, to sharpen – or “faux” sharpen an image. Take the image above. It is the finished product. The photograph was well in focus. But I used Nik HDR Efex Pro II to bring out just a tad more detail than there was without using HDR.
Here’s one that is similar to the original that didn’t go through the HDR process.
The differences are very subtle but on a 40″ monitor they look substantial.