Ever notice how some of my photos look like a painting or different than the photos I get from you camera. Well I probably used Photomatix and HDR to create the image. For HDR what I do is take a bunch of photos of the exact same photo (without moving the camera) but with different exposures (brightness levels), then I use Photomatix to combine all the photos. What happens is a little like magic and I get those painting like photos. There are lots of great resources on the web for learning Photomatix and HDR photography but the most popular and famous is by a guy named Trey Ratcliff, his blog also has a good collection of amazing HDR photos.
Most of the photos I post to my blog are HDRs, here is a complete list of the ones where I used Photomatix.