Upload & Sell: Off
The 3rd shot is not HDR but only the "0" from a 7 shot attempt at HDR. The only processing done for the last shot was strictly in Camera Raw and and then jpeg conversion in Photoshop. - it was 5 min worth of work. Admittedly, I have become very addicted to the "Clarity" slider in CR. Therefore no HDR processing was done for the last picture.
The middle picture is overtly HDR'ish and I can fully understand that it is sufficiently so where folks either like it or not and therein begins the endless debate of HDR versus conventional single exposure processing. I'm like you, it can be too "sugary" and therefore you just can't eat too much of that sweet.
The first picture is HDR: 7 exposures at 1-stop increments with camera resting on a towel resting on the window sill (no tripod). Processing was first through Photomatix and it meant not adding strength @ 80%, keeping saturation at 40-50%. My objective was to not do what I did with the 2nd shot by giving it too much of a noticeable HDR effect. It seemed to work since it closely matches the 3rd shot which was a single exposure. I also dropped temperature down and did not play with gamma (unlike in some photos I do). I then ran it through Neat Image for Noise Reduction. Last I bring it into Photoshop for color correction, cropping, and most importantly: Sharpening.
Believe it or not, the first shot was my very first night photography one I've taken and processed.