Quote Originally Posted by jgcull View Post
How would I do that without a spot meter? Should I overexpose it a bit?
Well, if you have no spot meter, you can still wander around with a simple reflected light meter and measure the scene. The important part is: this is not advice for choosing exposure but for choosing composition. You can't change the 1/r^2 law, so pick an image frame carefully. Find a place where light creates an interesting scene within some dynamic range. Look at chiaroscurro masters how they arranged scenes of bright light amidst darkness.

One more hint from personal experience: our eyes see like a tele lens. Yes, our image circle is quite wide but the area we actually look at is pretty narrow. So we see details in a scene much larger than they will be if photographed with a normal lens. What looks like a nice street lamp some meters away may end up a tiny spot of light in your final image.