Photography has been my hobby for far too many decades — first on film, and now digital (for about seven years). I recently had occasion to use exposure bracketing seriously for the first time, when I was shooting difficult subjects (high contrast, large light value range, intense lights in shot, etc). Much to my surprise, the one stop underexposed shot was virtually always the best shot. I have since been experimenting with this and find that it applies to virtually all the shots I take. It also applies if the is a lot of sky in shot, and if there is very little. The colour range is more realistic, the level of detail is greater, and the balance much better.
So what is going on? Am I just getting old and decrepit with my vision crumbling? Do digital sensors react better to low exposures? Is the manufacturers calibration suspect? Something else?
What is "correct" exposure for a modern digital system?
FWIW I use Nikon equipment; with all but one lens (a Tokina extreme wide-angle zoom) being Nikon. All the shots I refer to above were taken by natural light in the daytime, and a substantial portion of them were landscapes.