Whilst I take your point that more work is more work and if a different piece of gear can save you that why not use it, or at least covert it , anybody shooting gigs and gigs of images every time they go out really isn't shooting with the highest IQ forefront in their mind.There are more reasons to want a sensor with higher DR, for landscapes and for other things. Here is one of my shots from yesterday:
I've got bracketed shots for this, but I doubt I'll actually use them, as in some the water is frozen, and in others the water motion is blurred. The V-shaped patch of sky at the end of the river is an example of where no kind of filtration will solve the problem either.
Blend two of the frames with a layer mask and "paint" in either the sky or the shadows (depending on which frame you want to be the primary.)
Sure, that's an option. You guys are STILL missing the point. Manually blending with layer masks and whatnot is STILL MORE WORK. When you fill GIGS of CF cards every time you go out, having to do all that for even half the images is too much work. That's the entire point here. Yeah, there are options...but they all involve more work. The benefit of increased editing latitude is it reduces the workload.
But anyway, whilst I am no Canon apologist here is an example, not dissimilar to yours (without the water) where a GND would not have been any help, but I am pragmatic enough to accept that an extra two stops of sensor DR would not have helped much as the shadows still wouldn't have held detail and I want the contrast anyway, I hate the flat HDR look your sunflowers had. It took 15 seconds to make the second one from the first one. I took a further two minutes to make it look OK!