I've been thinking of doing some night photography in Venice later this year. From what I hear from a few clients of mine who have either lived there or know the place well - it's almost impossible to shoot Venice during the day because of all the tourists. Night time is best. My trusty Sekonic 758DR light meter is hopeless at metering in the later stages of twilight.
So this week I managed to find a Profisix SBC exposure meter on eBay. I've been looking for one (very casually) for a few years. I first saw one on my very first workshop in Scotland. A Danish client showed me it take a meter reading towards the edge of twilight and night. I was impressed to see his meter tell him an exposure reading of 15minutes. Reading up on the light meter, I found out that it reads down to -8 EV. That's quite an achievement considering that my Sekonic light meter only reads down to about -1 EV - if that. I often find my Sekonic fails to read anything at all once we get in to the later stages of twilight, when most digital cameras seem to be able to read into what feels like absolute darkness.
Of course, moving to a digital system for this kind of thing would be highly advantageous. If the exposure is wrong, we just check the histogram and apply exposure compensation in degrees of 1 stop increments. Think of it this way - adding some arbitrary number of seconds (say 10) onto a 60 second exposure makes very little difference (it's only a 1/6th increment). So it's best to apply method to your madness, and increase the exposure by a stop at a time (double the exposure time) until the histogram is showing you a better distribution of tones.
But I've been using film for around 25 years now. I don't intend to stop, because I love the look of the medium. I also love the surprise element of what I'm getting. There's a mystery to what is being captured on my film: with no preview screen, I have to 'preview' in my minds-eye. I've said for a very long time that I find this a very satisfying way to work: my imagination is given a bit of a work out, and I feel this really has, over the years, helped me keep a strong sense of visualisation.
Now, I just need to go and book those flights to Venice.