I have had a little time to play around with the new version of Nik Software's HDR application, HDR Efex Pro 2, and so far I'm impressed. Granted, I'm not and HDR expert by any means, just a regular photographer who is interested in doing some HDR imaging from time to time. Here is the "base" image (zero exposure compensation) from a series of three bracketed shots that I took with my Canon S95 while in the drive-thru lane at a Wendy's (what can I say, I love their burgers! :-)) near my office:
I took the above image at about 1:30 or so in the afternoon so the light was pretty harsh. As you can see, the trees are too dark and the sky is maybe a bit too bright/washed out. You'll also notice that the image is a little crooked but not too bad considering it was a quick hand-held shot.
This is what the HDR looked like after I had applied one of the "Realistic" presets in HDR Efex Pro 2 and then cropped/straightened the TIFF image in Lightroom:
Total time to do this was about 5 minutes. I didn't mess around with the presets at all, I just picked one of the standard ones, applied it and went from there. The result is a nice image that brings out some of the details in the trees and really improves the building. The sky is also more defined.
I plan on watching some of the many webinars and instructional videos that Nik makes available in order to learn more about how best to use HDR Efex. As I get to some of the images languishing on my hard drive, I'll post them here and on Google+ and Flickr.
If you are looking to get into HDR photography, the new version of HDR Efex Pro is a solid contender and deserves to be considered. Stay tuned for more images and maybe even an in-depth review.