Personally, I have never given HDR much thought. Like so many computer enhancements, it was often overdone and very unnatural. I even disliked HDR as a term, since many times no true black remained - it was a skewed DR that made everything bright but nothing really dark, quite unlike the world I live on.
Recently I saw some images more to my liking and decided to look into it a bit more. I picked out a raw image that I had tweaked to my satisfaction, showing Mts. Rainier and St.Helens from north Portland (yes, Rainier is that big!). This was an alpenglow image at high FL on my F550exr. I then gave it a quick dash through a PS-Elements plugin called ReDynamix, which is fast and came with a free-trial mode.
This was produced quite swiftly.. a bit too swiftly, as I can see issues that show I was a little rushed. I took the sunset colors away without meaning to, and magenta-tinted trees doesn't come across as realistic.. but not as bad as I often think of when HDR comes up. So the result of this first test, while not quite right as a finished product, is quite satisfactory. Guess I'll pay the price for that plugin, which right now is .. wow, a mere $16 at http://www.mediachance.com/plugins/redynamix.html