We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
HDR is sort of Adams' Zone System for digital. Most scenes have a dynamic range (dark to light) greater than can be captured by a digital camera. So either something gets lost in the shadows or some highlights get overexposed and lose detail. In HDR you bracket exposures (underexposed, normal, overexposed) to be sure you get all the detail, then use photo software to use the parts that have the detail to create a single image capturing a very wide range. It can be used in a subtle manner, but most people seem to turn it up to 11.
There's a lot of heavy handed HDR floating around the tubes, giving the edited photos an unreal effect. I shoot digital mostly in the same manner I shoot slide film, that is I typically meter for the highlights and let the shadows fall where they may. With digital this style allows editing in RAW to open up the lighter shadows without significant degradation of the image (unless, again, the edits are heavy handed or the ISO equivalent was pushed too far). I'm satisfied with my results, but I'm not expecting miracles, either. HDR editing may virtually open up the shadows in a HDR scene, but given the requirements it seems more like it would be a novelty for most people rather than a serious tool.
1. The actual process is fairly straightforward; you're just taking the same pic with three different shutter speeds and superimposing them over one another. The problem arises because you most likely don't have a hi-def monitor, so you won't see them in their true glory.
2. The bitch is the process to convert them so they look good on regular monitors. Playing with histograms is a nasty, sensitive, easy-to-screw-up process. He couldn't even give specific instructions, just because every pic requires different 'tuning'.
3. You don't own Photoshop ($699).
Maybe I could have saved us some time by just listing #3. :)