There's an on-going debate amongst viewers and other photographers regarding how much manipulating has been or should be done to photo's. At times, the debate leads to heated "discussions." This is unfortunate! I am first an artist, second a photographer. My abilities to "invasion" my subject and then "create" it, I feel, are a step ahead of many other "plain" photographers. They'll claim that the image should be right "in the camera." If your goal is to replicate what you see without any color correcting and/or image altering, that's fine. I take a different perspective. The camera is a tool of the artist, the same as a brush is to the painter. Using it, I can produce an image that I find reflect many things beyond that of which I see.
As Moose Peterson (wildly followed nature photographer) has stated. The camera has "no heart." It's the photographer that is the artist and his manipulation of the image is what then creates "the art." This in itself is one of the reasons I've embraced HDR (high dynamic range) photography. I won't bore you with its development here, but encourage you to GOOGLE it and see just what it produces. As in anything, some will take this process TOO far and produce cartoon looking images. Actually some of which I like! But as I said earlier, I'm an artist and enjoy seeing how others inturput "the canvass." Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, right?
I love that the image can now produce more vivid colors and contrasts. I won't use HDR on all my images, but I will do it to a lot. I love it! Join me and embrace the "new" kid on the block.