Morning back to you young man . It sounds like you are making excellent upword progress.
I don't know what your prior photographic background is nor your experience with the basics of metering, but I suspect the latter is the crux of the issue. It's all about how you are metering. There is a technical aspect to this, as well as the subjective/artistic part of it. You probably need to concentrate on the technical - ie, getting the right settings.
Ansel Adams used the zone system for metering, and evaluating the light in a scene. I won't go into boring detail on that. But I will tell you how I get decent results. I do a lot of landscape, pictorial and wedding work. I first visually identify a mid-tone value in the scene. This is a compromise, somewhere between the highlights and shadows. Sometimes I hit it on the money and get great exposures. Often I have to do tweaks after the fact in PS which is ok; used to do that in the darkroom anyhow last century .
But if you find that mid-tone value, and meter off that (I press the * button to lock it in for the shot, or make sure my focus point is locked on it when I take the picture) then that will get you close. Fill flash may fix shadows if used; postprocessing may take care of highlights later on.
A lot of people like to expose to the right (meaning on the histogram) so they can preserve bright sky/cloud details. I do this a bit also. It does preserve my sky details, but then shadows will go darker, and that detail will be reduced. I'll fix this (somewhat) in post. So again, my trick is to find that midtone value, and meter off that.
Your camera is a wonderful tool - but a lousy mind reader. On complex scenes - lots of highlights and deep shadows - it does not really know what you consider to be important from a metering standpoint. YOU have to tell it - usually by "pointing the meter" or in your selection of metering mode.
I gave you a lot to digest - hope it helps. Post some examples though and I'll be able to give you more specific guidance. Take care. - Stu
Setting shuttle priority with eval metering gave me a decent image as you expected.
What are you thinking next? I have high hopes