2am. The ruthless alarm lets you know about its presence. Time to get up. I think I didn’t sleep at all. Quick coffee, sandwich and I’m ready. Last check to see if I haven’t forgotten anything. Once I forgot a memory card – never repeat a mistake twice. I go outside, the crisp air wakes me up definitely and the starry sky bodes for a beautiful morning. My plan is to photograph shorebirds at a nearby lake. I waited all year for the water level to be low enough to reveal the muddy areas.

As I arrive, the visibility gets worse. The fog – thick as milk – flooded the whole area. I almost can touch it. It will be pretty hard to get to the previously chosen place without the risk of getting lost.. I put on wellingtons. I leap the faith and start breaking through the muddy slush completely not knowing where I am going.

A foam pad in one hand and a masking net in the other, a heavy backpack with a tripod and camera on the back – I look like a laden ox. With every step the mud swallows my wellingtons. I don’t want to give them back! Sometimes they flounder so deep that you can’t see them. But still the main thing is not to let the camera fall down into the mire. The other day I did drop it. Not a funny story. Nevermind.

After few hundred meters I decide to set up where I’m standing. I lie down on a foam pad, cover myself with a camouflage net and start waiting in silence.

I love this moment in nature photography. Everything is waking up, and I can observe this being unnoticed, in the heart of the action. The sun should be already up, but relentless fog covers it well. However, it is getting brighter. On the horizon I see the first shorebirds. A bunch of dunlins came to forage in the mud. I am happy about their presence because it means that I have chosen a good place. I take some minimalist shots.

At some point all birds fly away. They were probably frightened by white-tailed eagle flying nearby. Complete silence takes control.

The next hour is full of waiting and thinking. I have a lot of dream photographs in my head. One of them is a photo of great egrets emerging from the dense fog. I have tried to realize this frame many times, but never successfully. It happened to me that egrets walked three meters away from my lens, unfortunately without fog. Other times the conditions were perfect, but no egret come. Today the fog was perfect. When I looked into the misty space for too long, it seemed to me that in the distance I could see the shapes of egrets. However, I quickly rejected this thought because I have never seen this species here before.

Suddenly I saw some clear forms emerging from the fog… I pinched myself, it must be a dream! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Three great egrets were walking straight towards me. And in conditions that I’ve dreamed of! At one point they created a perfect composition. I couldn’t waste that opportunity.
Let this moment last forever!

That was one of the most special mornings of my life. I took hundreds of photos and realized my dream. It was worth getting up early and lying down in the mud for such moments!

At the end I would like to say one thing. Be always ready and don’t give up. Because you never know if this day isn’t going to be the day you will make your dreams come true. Even if it isn’t promising at all.