Mon 24-Dec-12 06:17 AM | edited Mon 24-Dec-12 06:22 AM by gfinlayson
OK, I'm stumped then. I can't think of anything other than bracketing that would cause apparently 'random' EC values.
When you say you're going to buy a ND filter, I assume you mean a soft or hard grad, so that you can reduce the brightness of the sky?
Digital dynamic range is very close to that of print film these days, and one thing the D7000 does exceptionally well is pushing under exposure to bring out shadow detail. 2 - 3 stops is easily achievable.
Edit: an idea occurred to me - do you have Active D-Lighting switched on? I haven't used it (I shoot RAW and PP in Lightroom), but my understanding is that it changes the exposure and pushes or pulls to capture the widest range of highlight and shadow detail.