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From back when the world was only available in black and white.  

We had fascinating weather for the  #sullimammothwalk  Eastern Sierra Photowalk last weekend.  Saturday afternoon brought increasing clouds, then a break for the sun to shine through, clouds to catch sunset, then they clouds mostly dissipated an hour after sunset for star shooting.  Glad to see that my order for weather was received and delivered!

This shot taken directly into the sun was bracketed with 3 exposures, but I didn't like what combining in Photomatix HDR software was doing, so I went to black and white, brought that monochrome TIF file from Photomatix result into Lightroom, and made some minor adjustments before saving a copy in JPG.
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Great B&W ! I like this point of vue too.
+Christian Ludvigsson Thanks!  Given that the purpose of HDR is to increase dynamic range, in my opinion if the editing process is recognizable, that's typically a blatant rookie processing flaw.

I probably shouldn't have mentioned it, to see if anyone noticed.  When I revisit an image months or years later and I can't tell, and I have to look up the file name to see how the result was produced, I know I've succeeded.

It's dead simple to make a photo look wacky... just grab a slider and move it off in some random direction.  That's why grunge HDR is so appealing; anyone can do it.  It's far more difficult to walk the knife's edge of realism and exercise creativity, while enabling the viewers to focus on the subject of the image and not distract them with artifacts. #GplusHeresy

If someone wants to market their simple and common manipulations as art, that's their privilege.  Every generation has their tulip mania; in photography the HDR one will (thankfully) pass.  That's not a knock against HDR: I find it useful for 2-3% of my results, and any process which can salvage 1 out of 30 shots is one to keep in my toolbox.
Well, +Jeffrey Sullivan , I love this pic but I´m not fully in agrement with your philosophy and say that respectfully!  I like alot of different images and styles and the technicallity of them can be more or less impressive and more or less agressive but in the end it´s what the image conveys on an individual basis what´s important, not how it is done. 
+Christian Ludvigsson I agree that _"in the end  it's what the image conveys on an individual basis what's important, not how it's done."  That's why I use controversial techniques like HDR, but that's also why it's useful to discuss the tradeoffs and possible reaction of the audience (what I was trying to do, although I may not have communicated that clearly enough).  If "how it's done" is the first thing which people notice about the result, The subject of the image is demoted to a secondary position, and the image fails to convey what it was taken to show.  It actually gets worse than that, since I think many people get so distracted by suing one particular enhancement technique that they never learn, or forget to focus on, having any sort of subject and deliberate composition at all (leading lines, etc).

Often this sort of discussion can go down the path of getting into whether anyone can claim to have any sort of monopoly on the definition of art, and that's not my intention.  What we do have though is some history available, specific to photography.  While Ansel Adams was developing his techniques for producing manipulated but adequately realistic images which did not have the manipulations distract, there were many more photographic artists who were having commercial success producing hand-tinted colorized images.  Their names were... Honestly, I don't know who they were.  They have been largely forgotten (although one could certainly look them up I am sure).  

There are a ton of people taking advantage of the drama of techniques like HDR and I have no objection to them selling that to get new people to use their cameras more.  I discuss my own use of HDR specifically to make the point that it is not a worthless technique, nor do I have any sort of prejudice against it.  There however a broader story with regards to photography which I believe is important to also present.  Subjects matter.  Composition matters.  Considering the reaction of your audience matters.  For some people to only present "Hey look at this dramatic HDR, isn't it great (and buy my lesson series on it)!" without presenting the rest of the story, especially the potential negative reaction of the audience if the processing is sloppily done, strikes me as either naive or disingenuous.  

So I only mean to provide more points for consideration, not to discourage anyone from any particular technique (especially one that I use myself).  People may (and will) use whatever technique they choose, with whatever degree of aggressiveness they choose, and not everyone has to like what they produce.  

It does still strike me as pointless to produce something which looks like what anyone else can produce simply by virtue of using the same technique, but that's just my personal observation expressed on my own stream.  I don't really feel any particular need to convince anyone to agree with me; you're perfectly welcome to disagree and take your own course.  
Thanks for an indepth response, got me a better handle on your perspective which is always interesting! Glad you mentioned subject and composition, that´s where it all happens in the end. Have a good one!
+Christian Ludvigsson Thanks for your patience; it's a complicated subject, too complicated to do justice in a few paragraphs.  Peopletend to want to classify things as good or bad, friend or foe, positive or negative, so depending upon which portions of the topic I touch upon they tend to interpret me as either promoting or discouraging HDR.  I do a little of both to some degree, but not to disrespect anyone or their art, only to explore that grey area in between polarized pro/con camps.  Here are some of the discussions and tutorials I've posted on my blog:

HDR can be a useful tool, but it does quickly get tiring to see a flood of similar results which (after a few years producing and viewing them) appear to differ mainly in the direction the camera was pointed (not in the skill or creativity of the artist).  There are notable exceptions of course, but it's not my place to fall into that trap of naming what's "good" or "bad", especially on a personal level.  

I discovered Photomatix software for HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography years ago in its version 0.9 or 1.0 release.  Adobe Lightroom 2.0 was released in 2008, giving me a powerful alternative for processing individual exposures. Over time my use of HDR evolved as follows:
2008 - 50%+
2009 - 30%
2010 - 5%
2011 - 4%

Photomatix is now in its version 4.1 release, which provides quick previews of what results you might expect from 8 different processing options. Lately I've been using the Adobe Lightroom 4.1 release candidate, and I use it for roughly 96-97% of my results. I still use Photomatix on the remaining 3-4% of my images, but I use Lightroom to perform noise reduction and to save JPG files to read into Photomatix, and to achieve the results I want, it is critical to perform a final adjustment on the Photomatix output.

Here are some of the other years I've looked at so far, focusing on the HDR results:
HDR 2009:
HDR 2010:
HDR 2011:

Not all of these HDR results are what I would consider successes, but that's my point, to show what HDR actually produces (with a lot of time and work, using the version available at the time).  It would be misleading, a distortion of reality, and overstatement of the applicability of HDR, to show only the few times that it worked particularly well.  

It's still a useful enough process, often enough, that I keep it as one of the many options in my editing suite. When I get time, I'd like to revisit some of my old HDR results with Lightroom 4 and see how individual exposures would turn out, using current editing tools.

On a site-wide level, Google has demonstrated a particular love of HDR and promotes that on G+, an unfortunate distortion of (and manipulation of) the free market.  That's not to say HDR wouldn't have been popular here anyway, it is flashy and as a hunting species we're drawn to what stands out in a herd, but we just don't know, since G+ is not an open, unbiased environment reflecting the free will of its community.  
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