Upload & Sell: On
Chris, glad to see you posting.
HDR is definitely a style that isn't for everyone, and I'm not well versed in it at all.
That being said, I'm partial to the B&W ... halo as noted. Without having ever even tried HDR, this one strikes me as wondering if you could do it kinda 1/2 way in HDR, then finish it selectively afterwards as a strategy to help with the heavy halo. Again, I'm HDR "challenged" (i.e. clueless), so pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.