Originally Posted by MaximusJ
Would HDR be crossing that line? If colors are not altered?
That's why this is a tough challenge. Use your best judgment. There is no such thing as a photo that looked exactly like real life. Do your best to emulate your perception of reality as you saw it. What can you do with a camera and post-processing to show others how you perceive your reality...or how you would have liked it to look?
It doesn't mean you can't change colors. And it doesn't mean you can't use HDR at all. It means the photo shouldn't look outlandishly artificial. Rather than using HDR to illuminate what didn't exist, use some other controllable light source to show how your mind chose to capture that moment.
Look at the two photos below. The first one is the original. The second is edited--because that's how I wanted it to be seen. Of course, showing you the first shatters the dreamlike illusion. But this is what I mean.