I have tried to create HDR like effect by 3 simple adjustments to original image. Adjustments made were:
- Decreasing exposure by -0.5 full stops
- Lightening the shadows by 31 units
- Increasing image temperature by 1500 degrees (well, not needed for HDR effect, but was appropriate here otherwise)
This example image was processed in Aperture 3, but same could be easily done eg. in Lightroom.