Sometimes you just arrive at a location and start thinking about shooting. When there is huge dynamic range, you might be using HDR or gradual neutral density filter. Every good photographer will tell you the best light to shoot in is during dawn or dusk. There is also one huge advantage that not everybody tells you about. Dynamic range isn’t so big during sunrise or sunset. So when you want to use HDR it is an option, but not a must. And to be honest, you can get some funky results.
As you can see on the image right, dynamic range is OK and here I tried to do a pseudoHDR in Lightroom 4. Just drag Highlights slider to -100, Shadows slider to +100 and clarity to +100. Then you might need to adjust whites, blacks, exposure and other stuff but you can get nice result. But it just doesn’t work as much as a normal shot just down bellow.
Getting the real look makes the photo more realistic and better looking. With the one on the left I almost cut off all the atmosphere, great yellow light coming from the left, contrast between light and shadow and entire image gone a bit flat. Of course, that is caused by processing. Anyway with the second image we have everything. Nice light, shadow, contrast, dimension, depth, separation, color. I just love the shadows in left bottom corner of the image. What I’d love to have is a person in the photo sitting on a chair looking away from my camera. It would add a bit more magic to the image. But I couldn’t expect someone to be out there sitting in a restaurant at 6 AM.