I suspect that, like me, many are using HDR (or blending) without mentioning it in their posts.
I always use HDR when shooting into the sun (or have bright sky and a shadowy foreground). Here is an example.
That could very well be it. I only mention it half the time when I post photos.
I definitely use it when shooting into the sun. I need to get better at looking at my histogram. It will tell me if I need to use it or not.