I have on occasion played with HDR imagery, using Photomatix Pro software and getting some interesting results. I know that the grunge look is over used and some people really dislike it. HDR photography does not have to be the gritty. grungy look though. Some photographers use it as a way to get detail in the images and make them as realistic as possible. Me? I like to play around with it. If I am already stepping out of the limits of being a journalist and altering the way the image looks, why not push it a bit?
For instance, when the students at the school pulled off their senior prank last week I shot it with a DSLR and three shot bracketed exposure. Used Photomatix and applied the grunge effect twice. I got this:
But what happens if you don't have a way to shot the bracketed images? What if you do not have a tripod or a DSLR with motor drive and auto exposure bracketing to keep the camera still? Or your subject is moving? There is a Faux HDR process which has been termed "The Dave Hill Effect." (Check out Dave Hill's web site for examples of what his photography is like). Although many people are calling the effect with his name, I don't think that the results are nearly as impressive as his work.
Still, I dug up a few old frames and processed them through the steps found here and I like the results. The great thing about digital photography is you can play as much as you like and as long as you keep the original file saved someplace else you won't ruin anything.