These 2 images were prepared using different tools. The first was processed in SPP with the Fill Light and Highlight sliders moved right. The second is an HDR (tonemapped) from 3 exposures, 0, +1 and -1 ev. This image was processed with Photomatix Pro v3.0. I attempted to get acceptable information from the foreground, shadow areas and also to bring out the colors I saw in the sky. It's a bit overdone but....
I'm not a big fan of HDR and in fact have found it to be a lot of trouble for a non acceptable result in the past. I have been able to make 2 or 3 acceptable HDR images with my Nikon D-80 but that was out of perhaps 50 or 60 different trials. The concept of HDR is quite exciting, dramatically increase the effective range of a digital camera. I have a problem however with the overdone, cartoonish, colors and the overall "Grunge" look to the finished product. I think it's possible to minimize the ill effects and still gain something from the process but the margin between no effect and too much effect is painfully narrow, sometimes non existent.
I also have the idea that there is an effect I would like to see applied to faces, my all time favorite subject. The problem here is to get 3 or more images which are identical except for exposure. Seems an impossibility.
Enter SPP and the Fill Light slider. I am thinking that there is a quasi HDR look to the + side of the slider. Again it's a small margin between not enough and too much but the process happens on a single image.
More to come.