There are several ways to create an HDR photo. One way is to take multiple photos, each exposed for a different element--shadows, highlights,ect. Then, you use a software to merge these multiple photos together.
You see, that requires planning. And I'm not the best on planning. ;) I was just sitting here, messing around with some old photos that I thought would benefit from HDR treatment.
So what I did was take the original photo, decently exposed to catch the colors of the sunset, and make two copies of it, one for the shadows, and one for the highlights.
This was edited to bring out the dark areas (at the expense of the brights, but that's alright, as I am merging several photos together):
Here I slightly edited the photo to bring out the sky:
I threw these three photos into my trial program, Photomatix Pro. I have seen some other photographers use this program, to amazing results. Photoshop does have a HDR function, however I've never had any luck with it.
The final result!
:) Thanks for reading!