Tone mapping is where the serious bit-crunching comes in, and each of the software tools detailed here has a different way of doing it. Photomatix provides a fairly straightforward dialogue of sliders that regulate the brightness, white and black points, and numerous other aspects of the resulting image—you can get some wild effects just by tweaking them and seeing what happens in the live preview. Photoshop gives you four tone-mapping choices. But the hands-down best is "Local Adaptation," which gives you control of the image via the "curves" control. I recently learned how to use curves, which are the basis of almost all digital-image processing, and I'm still not good enough to really explain them. I learned from here, though, and if you use Photoshop, your life will be better for learning as well. Anyway, this gives you great control of the image's color and exposure, and again, simply playing around and observing the live preview can yield some fun results. Qtpfsgui has all kinds of crazy-sounding tone-mapping functions to choose from (Drago logarithmic mapping! Durand fast bilateral filtering!); since no one but the mathematicians who invented them have any idea what they mean, trial-and-error is again your friend.