I've had a tripod for ages and, until this weekend, have only used it twice. Despite the bulk and weight of my Hasselblad, I shoot handheld comfortably to speeds of 1/60 of a second and use a 400 speed film to get dusk shots. For months though, I've been admiring the night work of a few Flickr contacts (Daniel Regner, Andrew Mangum, Bryan Vana, and Michael Wriston). With every new night photo of theirs I hit the Favorite button and marvel over that little extra something that a long exposure photo at night possesses. Their night photos are full of mystery and possibility. It's as if time has stopped and anything (or absolutely nothing) can happen in that frame. And frankly, they also make it look like fun. Often someone else will be there capturing a shot of the photographer taking the shot; this behind the scenes photo will sometimes show up in the comment section.
Inspired by these intrepid nighthawks, Saturday night I loaded up my Hasselblad with Fuji Neopan Acros 100* and grabbed my tripod. I had a cable release (unused until then) in my camera bag already, so with camera, film, light meter, tripod, cable release, and watch I was ready to tackle long exposures.
I walked down to Brooklyn Bridge Park, set up my gear, and realized it's really not that much work to do long exposures. I set the lens on the Hasselblad to Bulb setting, took a meter reading (between 2 and 3 EV), calculated a 30 second exposure at the tick between F11 and f16 and then hit the plunger of the cable release. I hadn't brought a flashlight so my watch was useless. Luckily, I had my cell phone, which has a timer function on its clock app.
For my first experience with long exposures, I'm pretty happy with the results. These were developed in Kodak Xtol at 22C for 6.5 minutes.
*I chose Fuji Neopan Acros 100 to use because it has no reciprocity failure until 120 seconds.