The NY Times had an article on HDR.."Was it done with a lens, or a brush?....It states that you need to take 3 shots of the same scene, each 2 fstops apart and use the software program to get HDR picture..Then it states you need to tone map it to get a useable photo that can be saved in TIFF or JPEG. I am not sure that I understand this process. Has Shutterbug ever had an article on high dynamic range photography?
I've used Merge to HDR in Photoshop a couple of times and it's pretty much as stated, except that there's no specific requirement for f-stop separation, and I don't believe tone mapping is required (at least, I never used it and never saw reference to it in the procedure). One thing it left out is that you need a very, very steady tripod for this. The chief value of it lies in shooting scenes with very high contrast from deep shadows to strong highlights.
Shutterbug did have an article on HDR several months ago, (sorry, don't recall which issue), which you should be able to find in the archives from the home page.
HDR was covered in my test and report of Adobe Photoshop CS2. Yes you do need to shoot on a tripod. And, its purpose and function is to obtain tonal range data and compression from bracketed exposures (up to 5) of scenes which have a greater dynamic range than is covered by your recording media. Tone mapping is a part of the manual process adjustments provided in the HDR dialogue.