Quote Originally Posted by Diapositivo View Post
Incident metering and night doesn't necessarily work very well and I personally would advice against it. In sun light the sun is so to speak always the same, one has a value for sunlit areas and a value for shadows.

With artificial light, and floodlights in particular, the sources of light is ambiguous and/or not reachable - think the dome of a church lit by floodlights, one cannot go up the dome to measure what's the light there - its distance from the subject is important for exposure and any kind of "averaging" can be very misleading because of the great brightness range.

Imagine a street lamp on a house, projecting light on the house (an awful lot, but diminishing very fast) and on the street. In this situation an incident light meter is basically useless. Besides, light sources at night are often in the frame and they must not be counted as far as exposure calculation is concerned, and with an incident light meter one ends up always calculating, in the exposure, also the brightness of the street lamps.

"Table" exposure is as we agree quite reliable in this situation.

Seriously, if you do as is normal for incident metering and stick the meter "against the subjects nose" or you are "in the same light" incident metering works perfectly.

If my subject is under a street light and I'm under the next one down the street, I can even meter right where I'm at because the light is equivalent.

If my subjects are going to be walking by a certain spot: on a sidewalk past a street light, store front, whatever; I can walk into the scene (like the one you describe) and meter "the spots I want" then walk back to my chosen vantage point.

As to distance from subject, that actually doesn't matter. Correct exposure for a given subject within a scene, and I'm using the word "correct" very loosely, is the same regardles of distance; your clock or church tower should get the same exposure at 5-meters or 50, as far as the film is concerned it's luminance doesn't change.

What does matter is the subjects size within the composition, that is a real factor in determining camera exposure. At 5-meters the clock may define the exposure fully, at 50-meters with the same lens in play there are more things in view to consider.