I love to photograph in pre-dawn light because of the subtle almost pastel tones that can be captured at that time of the morning. There is just enough light at that time so I don’t need to use extremely high ISO’s which can introduce unnecessary (and unwanted) noise or flash, which I very rarely use.
One important thing to be aware of is that pre-dawn light only last for a few minutes in most cases. The sun is low enough to cast light over the subject but it has not risen above the horizon and the golden hues often found right after sunrise have not happened yet.
In the photo above the American Oystercatcher was feeding in a tidal pool with a small strip of sand between the tidal pool and the Gulf of Mexico as I laid down at the edge of the pool of water to get a low perspective. The water was very still because there wasn’t even a light sea breeze blowing at the time so the only movement of the water was caused by the bird moving through the water in a slow manner which combined with my low angle created a smooth but diffused reflection of the bird.
I processed this image carefully so that it retained the look and feel of the pre-dawn light and I really appreciate the pastel tones of the tidal pool, the strip of sand and the water of the Gulf in the background.