I have been doing HDR since 2008. I have never been one to overdo my HDR. As a matter of fact, a lot of my work is not recognized as being tonemapped at all. That is why I am so excited about Nik Color Efex 4 and the Detail Enhancer. It can bring out the details in the shadows and highlights that I use HDR for. It does have its limitations in very high dynamic situations. If that is the case, I take 3 exposures and tonemap the final product.
When it comes to an image like the one below, I like to use Nik Color Efex and its Detail Enhancer. It is a plug-in for Photoshop that I can not live without now.
The histogram showed all my highlights and shadows were there, but I took 3 shots anyway -2, 0, +2 EV. I then combined them in Photomatix 4 to tonemap them (2nd photo).
The 3rd photo shows what I can do with one photo using Detail Enhancer. Painting in the areas I want with it effects.
Click on any photo for larger view!
I find myself using Nik Color Efex 4 more and more. With the new tools like Detail Enhancer, it adds to my productivity.