It seems some people are experimenting with High-Dynamic-Range (HDR) photography: Check out photos tagged 'hdr' at flickr.

This is a process where you take the same photo multiple times using different exposure levels. A piece of software then takes bits from each exposure to create the final image, with higher detail across the exposure range than you can get with just the one picture. I.e., a really bright section of the scene doesn't drown out the darker bits and vice versa.

There seems to be some commercial software ('free' trial version) at hdrsoft. How long before we have a GIMP plugin? :)