Regarding getting light values for things - I've had some success capturing my own with some of the light metering iOS apps (e.g. LightMeter by whitegoods). I doubt it's super accurate, but it does a good job illustrating how crazily different light values can be.
Although I've worked with engines that use tone mapping for some time, I've not dabbled with anything using real-world values. At home I'm starting from scratch and trying out something with realistic values. I was searching for some docs covering local and perceptual tone mappers, and found this fairly gentle paper: http://aris-ist.intranet.gr/documents/Tone%20Mapping%20and%20High%20Dinamic%20Range%20Imaging.pdf