Alternative to HDR?

There are usually two fairly strong factions when it comes to HDR …. that is those who love it and those who hate it. I have sat on both sides of the fence having dabbled with HDR for some time then looked at the results and have been sometimes unhappy about some of the final images. However if done correctly and in moderation HDR can produce some pretty spectacular images but usually needs a set of bracketed images to cover the dynamic range of the particular scene and shot preferably using a tripod
The following image is an HDR image I composed in Chiang Rai, Thailand as the sun was setting over the Mae Kok River. I took 3 shots at -2, 0, and +2 EV and combined the 3 images in PhotoMatixPro application.

The 3 bracketed shots that the final HDR image was created from are below for reference.

0 EV
-2 EV
+2 EV

Recently I have using Topaz Fusion Express as a plugin for Aperture and have found that the results can produce images that are as good if not better than HDR images and only using one exposure rather than a number of bracketed shots.

Taking the same image as above, i.e. the 0 EV exposure image and running it through Topaz Fusion Express I got the above result which is equivalent or in my view even better than the HDR image produced from the 3 bracketed images.

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