It’s pretty obvious from a quick glance at HDR the “look” is quite different from a conventional single shot. But what’s going on, why is it different? The issue is that HDR images (specifically tone mapped images) are capable of showing tone reversals. Areas of the image that we perceive in the real world as the brightest are no longer the brightest in the tone mapped image.
The HDR tone reversal look is most evident when the image includes the sky. Tone reversals are not so obvious in scenes that do not include the sky and are usually more successful when tone mapped to extreme levels. If you are not quite enamored by the full blown HDR look there is an answer. Blend the single shot image with the HDR image. It allows you to have the best of both worlds – realistic lighting (single shot), low noise, open shadows and controlled highlights (HDR).
Here are three version of an image: Single Shot 0EV, HDR image and 50-50% blend of the two.