Alarm went off around 0640. I waited, warm and snug in bed. The old house we've just bought is great, but it takes a while to warm up...I stuck and foot out of bed, but then quickly retracted it - bloody freezing. Fortunately, the curtains we have are ill-fitting for the bedroom windows. Thus, a sliver of light was poking through. I heard Damians words in my head, and decided to just get up, fling on about 4 layers of clothing (-3 out there this morning) and get going.
Although there's no Crystal Cresent Beach nearby, we do have the aptly named "Paradise Nature Reserve" about 3 streets away. This has a nice riverside walk through trees, and some open areas with attractive trees on the far bank, as well as ducks, geese and swans. If the weather is nice, it can be quite attractive.
It was still darkish when I got there about 0710. Light was poor, cloud cover, but I could see the sun would be up in about 20 mins. I had to crank the ISO up to 800, sometimes 1600, to get enough sensitivity. I also used the "IS" feature on the new lens I mentioned before. In hindsight, I wish I had taken the old tripod, but we've moved house in the past two weeks, and I'm not 100% sure where it is... Anyway, I had the aperture open as wide as it'll go, and a slow shutter speed/high ISO combination (with IS) - as long as I picked my focus point wisely, the images would be sharp enough. It's a myth that you can't get acceptable front-to-back sharpness (depth of field) with wide apertures. You can, but it needs more careful focus point choice. I put the 350D's focal point to the middle or just off middle, and used that to define the focus (sharp) point.
I managed to get a few nice river shots while it was still quite dark. Not much in the way of sky, but lovely still water and good reflections. As I moved through the nature reserve, I took a few more. Nice, but nothing great.
I had been watching the sky, and trying to decide what would happen. I decided it wasn't going TO happen this morning, and was heading for home, via the non-scenic route - don't ask why, but I can only assume that my brain was PC (pre-coffee).
I was in the park, heading home, when I looked back - the sky had just erupted in a blaze of red and I was in the wrong place. I hurried back to the river, through the trees, and had about 10 mins of the most glorious sunrise, and managed to take about a dozen, the best of which I've put here in a low resolution. I've also posted the same views, to show the incredible difference about 10 minutes can make.
Just goes to show the golden rule of landscape and nature photography - be patient and read the weather and the light. Damian, perhaps you should have hung around for that sunset on CCB!
It was definitely worth getting up for...