How would you deal with this blown out sky?

Started 4 weeks ago | Discussions thread
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Erichimedes Forum Member • Posts: 94
How would you deal with this blown out sky?

TIA for any helpful answers. Long post, bear with me.

I live in Colorado, and have been trying to get some good landscape shots of the mountains when we take a weekend and go camping/hiking. Cameras are: Sony A6500 and A7RIII. Lenses are various native and adapted manual lenses. Same issues come up with both cameras, and all the lenses.

The problem:
This usually happens when it's cloudy or overcast. There's slight haze in the air from far away forest fires and the extra light coming from the clouds seems to light it up and not only screws up the sky but takes a lot of detail out of the tops of the mountains as well.

One reason I'm looking for input is that everything I read is how to deal with this in post. I have a couple of problems with this:

-Depending on the picture, a normally exposed (according to my cameras) picture is still so blown out that there are few or no details to recover from a RAW file. So I often shoot anywhere from 1/3 to 1 stop underexposed.
-A lot of days look like this up in the mountains, and it can be an issue in every single shot. I don't want to have to do heavy editing to recover the sky in every image I want to keep. (unless this is the only way)
-Taking bracketed shots and combining them in Lightroom is a lot for me to deal with if I'm out for a weekend and take 200ish shots that I also need to edit down and store, etc.
-I just hate post processing. Can you tell?

So I'm looking for ways to deal with this in camera as much as possible, and maybe do some simple steps in post to the images I want to keep. I generally shoot in both RAW+JPEG, and keep a lot of photos as the jpegs from camera, and choose my favorite 10 or 20 from the weekend and process them into the real keepers.

Right now, my thoughts are to play around with a graduated ND filter (fiddly, yes, but I don't mind fiddling with gear nearly as much as I mind post processing) or maybe experiment more with the HDR and DRO settings in camera. One problem there being that HDR is not available when shooting the "JPEG+RAW" setting. The second problem being that when DRO is set to AUTO, it doesn't seem to apply a strong enough setting in these situations, and if I just set it to that strong setting, I have to switch it back for any photo with more naturally balanced light.

So after all that. Any thoughts? Happy to answer questions on what I have or have not tried.

Out of camera jpeg from last week as an extreme example. Sony A7RIII with Pentax 77/1.8 limited at f11 and 1/60

 Erichimedes's gear list:Erichimedes's gear list
Sony a6500 Sony a7R III Sony E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS
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