If you’re having difficulty understanding metering, then you’ll probably want to take up night photography as this is one of the types of photography where you don’t have to worry about your metering. You can forget about honeycomb, matrix, spot and multi-metering systems as these will not be utilized in night photography.
The best metering system that you’ll ever need for night photography is your eye coupled with some experience on your belt. Since we are no longer dealing with daylight, a metered reading is only as useful as a “starting point”.
There are so few factors in night photography that can make the metering system unreliable. It is because whenever you read meter systems, they work on the premise that the area being read has equal amounts of light and dark areas. If you’re metering with that premise then the system will not work 100%.
What you want to do is to simply start out with an aperture of 2 seconds with an aperture of around f/5.6 if your depth of field is not a priority. Should you need a longer exposure, just try the shutter. If your camera is able to go up to 30 seconds of open shutter time, you should remember to use the self-timer to fire the camera instead of pushing it down yourself.
This will eliminate any type of camera shake that will come out of pressing down on the shutter button and taking your hand off it to allow the mirror to capture light for 30 seconds. In cases like this, it is highly recommended to use some sort of cable release.
So whenever you are exposing a photograph during the night, you should always remember to use the Bulb setting if and when you have it, mount your camera on a sturdy tripod to minimize any type of camera shake and finally use a wired or remote trigger in order to take away any chances of you blurring the shot with the act of taking your finger away from the shutter button. Aside from these advices, you are on your way to capturing the best possible night shot.