In addition to these exposures, there are many more in these shots that they do so well. Although the environment was usually dark, photographer Jessica Rinaldi (who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2016) was able to see the light in the scene and then used it to her advantage. The composition of the individual pictures shows exactly in which direction the light comes and how it illuminates the motifs.
The color balance and saturation (not too much, but just enough) is phenomenal. Sometimes I find it even more important than the exposure if you miss the exposure, but if the color is right, it still works. Contrast control is also important for such shots, especially to avoid the difference between the very bright light sources and the dark shadows becoming too strong.
As much as we like to say, "Equipment does not matter," having the best tools available can make a big difference in some situations. Full-frame sensors, Fast Glass and RGB + IR measurement can make a big difference in very demanding light like this. It does not mean you tilt You get such good results without these things, but the best tools make it easier and faster to get there. Instead of having to set a specific color temperature and white balance compensation with a monochromatic meter, we can leave the white balance on "Auto" for a multicolor meter and achieve very good results in terms of both color and color.
Now for the exposure.
The vast majority of photojournalists I know would have used manual exposure for most of the images you referenced. How they came to these manual settings would probably have been more diverse than the number of photojournalists interviewed. That is, there are many ways to do that, and sometimes some of us use more than one method in such situations.
For the darkest night shots, it is almost always a trial and error. You set an acceptable shutter speed and aperture and then play with the ISO until you get what you want. If you are waiting for an important moment, choose the exposure using the available light under the same light that you expect to happen to what you are waiting for. There are really no pictures in the pictures you have listed The dark. There is always some light on the subjects, it's just that the surrounding areas are dark.
As more and more light enters the scene, different forms of exposure combined with the exposure compensation become more effective. I like Canon evaluation measurementProbably because that's what I use most often and can often look at a scene to understand how much exposure compensation is needed to achieve what I want. In dark environments with brightly lit subjects, I am not afraid to select -2 to -3 stops from EC or manually make settings where the meter displays -2 to -3. For someone else Center weighted averaging or Point / partial measurement can work better for you. I think the key is to use one method consistently enough until you have enough experience with it to see with your eyes how the meter sees the light in the scene. It's also important to understand when your preferred method is probably not the best way to approach a particular scene and be able to switch to a scene that will be.
For example, the setting of the two with their iPhone (# 11). Spot meter on the nearest face with about + 2/3 to +1 EC and ready. Try to do this recording with evaluation / matrix measurement, and it gets harder.
When shooting at night with strong artificial light sources that illuminate large areas of the scene (such as # 9 of the lights reflected off the white bus side), these are exposures that are very important in evaluating or center-weighted metering is useful even when recorded in manual mode.
Of those referred to, the hardest shot would be No. 13, the one of the lady with posters she wanted to prepare to distribute. She was picked up early in the morning. In the last moments before sunrise, the light changes quickly. But even in this area is a strong, probably constant light source for the camera, which seems to be the basis for the selected exposure setting.
Some of the images you referred to were fleeting moments in the sense that very similar shots would not have been possible before the published shots. All the shots taken on the bus at night were activities that probably took at least a few minutes. So a photographer would most likely have the option to select the exposure for such scenes. The more experience one has in such situations, and the better the way the camera works in such a light, the easier it is to meet them immediately.
From a comment of the OP to another answer:
… The pictures are more like action shots. They look like they're 1/250 or so. You make the picture or the moment is over. The question is how to set the exposure correctly if you do not have time to practice and set up.
There is always a setup required to get a good image. Always. It may have been several hours ago when you set up your camera before leaving the office, and you knew what kind of shots you would take and in what light you would do so. It may have been half an hour earlier than dawn ended, and it was only you and your fellow travelers under the glow of the reading lights and the darkness outside. It may have been a few minutes before the karaoke shot took place when you changed seats, so you have a clear view of the ladies getting ready to start the music. It may take a few seconds for you to raise your camera to the eye, or even after switching the metering mode and selecting in EC to see the two travelers who are illuminated by the screens of the iPhones.
The more fleeting the moment, the more you have to prepare and set up in advance. To do sports. Sport is about as extreme as it is in terms of "… you take the picture or the moment is gone". However, they always look at the light in the breaks when the sun changes and the artificial lights become your primary source of light. They always look at the game and try to predict what is likely to happen next and to be in the right place with the right lens pointing in the right direction to catch it when it happens. They always think ahead, even if they shoot while the players rush towards you. When is the best time to pull the camera away from your eye with your long telephoto lens and pull up your wide-angle body (the one you have) It has already been ensured that it has been set up properly) to push some frames off the breast plane, when they drive past you.