As far as the "cheats", and there's a reason I call them that, almost my entire photography life was with film, and it wasn't entirely possible to do those things with film. A lot of things are done digitally with images that, as far as I'm concerned, are the result of incredibly lazy photography. I can't count the times I've heard "I can fix it on the computer" when it would have been much better to just not be so lazy and sloppy to begin with. With something like this, it can't be changed prior to pushing the shutter. Given that, and since these are very small fixes which have an enormous benefit to the image, I did it. Allowing myself to do that and not beat myself up is actually a major accomplishment for me. I can't fully convey how much I came to despise photography, primarily because of how this ability and other ones like it are so severely abused, in my opinion.
By the same token, I'm completely entranced with the capabilities of HDR, even though 98% of the stuff I see using the technique is absolute dreck. Because of that, a lot of people trash the entire idea, but what a shame that is. It is, without a doubt, the single most exciting capability that digital has brought to photography, even if most photographers use it to create garbage. I think of all those years working with pull processing, spot meters, two bath developing, flashing (I bet nobody here knows that one), silver masks and how many other techniques, just trying to do what HDR allows. It's a fabulous time for photography, even if so many entusiasts just push a button and then play on the computer.
The Hybrid System
The Music Part: Emotiva XSP-1, Thiel CS 3.6, Emotiva XPA-2, Marantz SA8004, Emotiva ERC-3, SVS PB-12 Plus 2
The Surround Part: Sherbourn PT-7030, Thiel SCS3, Emotiva XPA-5, Polk & Emotiva Surrounds.