I’ve often talked about only shooting HDR when necessary and then have gone on to tell ways of measuring the Dynamic Range to see if it is sufficient to warrant shooting HDR.
But here is a quick way to determine if you do need HDR, It’s not fool proof but usually is a very good and quick way to at least know you may be on the right track.
I was coming back from hiking in the snow in the mountains and I saw this driving home thinking it might be an interesting shot. So I snapped one off. One quick look and I knew it would never be OK without HDR. I was just too tired from hiking to break out everything to set up so I just passed it by. But I noticed the histogram and really made the connection between the two
Here’s the image and the Histogram. Whenever you see two big peaks at each end and a really shallow valley in between, you may need HDR
Hope that helps,