Have you ever arrived home after a photo shoot only to find some of your photos came out a little underexposed and darker than what you expected? I am sure you were mindful of the exposure meter and did your best to keep that meter centered but still you are left with photos that are noisy and lacking in shadow detail.
Consider using a wide angle lens when shooting a grand scene such as a skyline, harbor or dock scene. It creates the illusion of vast space beyond what we see with our eyes and helps to separate the foreground from the background. Zooming in compresses that difference.