Jonathan, that is proper use of HDR and a good example of where and when its needed. Here is another example:
Here is what we are focusing on in this image...hot highlights:
The red areas indicate overexposure and loss of information. If only we could have toned the exposure down a bit with a faster shutter speed...wait, we did. But then the bottom half of the church would be too dark right? We took care of that too. In the 3 images above, I exposed one image normally, one -2 stops under, and one +2 stops over to complete the dynamic range I am after. The completed image looks something like this...
Notice I have detail throughout the scene and have a properly exposed image. This is impossible for modern day digital image sensors to capture in one exposure thus the need for this process.
This is handheld btw, and a testament to Photoshop's aligning ability.