he taught us a technique that goes something to the effect of: over expose 2 stops use developer at 50% normal strength and develop for 50% percent longer. the result is you ge more detail in the high lights with out blocking up the shadows, about 2-3 stops when it's said and done. anyway, my darkroom days are long done.
It's something I fell out of, that I'm getting back into.
HDR is kinda the digital approach to the same thing as the different exposure methods. Take a set of over-and-under-exposed shots and composite them together to get all the detail in all areas of the shot.
And it's waaay easier than working in a darkroom (I had an ex who insisted on film; she'd drag me to the campus darkroom with her; I hated it).