Chronologically it's time to move on to New Mexico, but I've been busy playing around with HD EFX Pro all day to see whether I want to buy this plug-in for Photoshop or not.
One of my concerns with using any HDR program is that the photographs produced often seem overly dramatic to me. For instance, here's a shot from the Garden of the Gods that I've processed with one of the plainer presets from HDR Efex Pro.
I admit I'm actually rather ambivalent about it. In some ways it does seem to capture the feelings I had while there, particularly the first time I was there. On the other hand, when I sit at my computer and look at it looks too dramatic to be "real."
Some people imagine that a photograph captures reality, but those who have studied photography for any length of time realize that different kinds of films produce quite different photographs. It was a matter of choosing what style you wanted.
Photographers today are faced with an infinite number of choices. My Canon camera gives me five or six different standard settings to decide what kind of results I want. I happen to prefer to use the plainest setting possible and then use Photoshop to adjust the photo while at my computer. Photoshop, particularly with all the plugins available today, can make your original shot nearly impossible to recognize.