Well after working on this one scene for a while, I’ve finally gotten the frames down to a decent speed, averaging about  five minutes a frame or so, much better than the 17 minutes they were taking before. So how did I do it, well let me start by explaining what I was doing. I was working on the animation for this group of verses.
     Genesis 1:6-8 6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
     Basically I just had a large plane on the bottom that was the water and then a large mesh that had a volumetric material applied to it, giving it a realistic representation of the mist. I was able to slash the render times by reducing the resolution of the volumetric material, I did a render with the resolution at 50, and one with it at 15, I couldn’t see a difference in the image at all, but the render time was much faster, about a third faster, and when there is 513 frames that 1/3 faster really adds up.
     So last night I did a test render of the scene at full resolution, every tenth frame. I was pleased with the results and have the short video here.