Well its easier said than done as far as photographing sunrises is concerned. The tricky bit is getting the exposure right. Too much and the sky looks really horridly white and too little and whatever is in the foreground looks black. This is where a nifty imaging tool called DLighting that's present in the D80 and D40 comes in handy.
Do keep in mind that no matter how great the DLighting works, nothing beats getting the correct exposure.
How do you do that? erm.. first of all, high contrast scenes like sunrises/sunsets usually make the camera's metering go nuts hence its best to use Manual for this type of scenes. If you don't then you'll forever be fighting with the camera as even a slight change of view can make the camera's brain give different readings.
Set the metering to spot and target an area which is somewhere in between the bright and dark areas. Adjust the aperture and shuttle speed accordingly. ISO should be around 100-200. Higher if you want to increase the depth of field.
Those are just techno mumbo jumbo… the secret to a good sunrise/sunset picture? timing, timing and timing! .. some days the sky is just plain boring, others are just horrid and ocassionally once in a while, a wonderful sunrise/sunset will appear.. so far it usually appears when I'm on the road, which sucks since I can't just stop my car and take the picture. 🙁
That's why photographers go around in scooters.. simple and legal to just stop anywhere and snap snap snap without causing a nuisance. Below is just a sunrise picture I took on this day. I didn't do any DLighting on to this picture as this is what I saw on that day. Hence I ensured that the sunrise is properly exposed, ignoring the rest. It gives a sensation of just waking up to the morning sun. I tried using DLighting and it just looks fake as strangely the buildings get more light than what was available.
Remember rules are just guidelines, its not going to fit into every single situation. Think on your feet ya! that's what that brain is for!
Below is a sunrise lit of a row of lovely rock melons. I took this shot as the warmth of the morning sun casts a unique light that gave a warm glow to the rock melon plus the low angle of the morning sun gave the fruit volume through a combination of bright and dark areas.
Photography is the mastery of light. The ability to make whatever light is available to you to bring out the best of your subject. It can make the most mundane look simply stunning.