The Hooded Mergansers are back in town at Los Colinas, Texas. That’s probably the only roosting spot for the diving ducks at DFW Metroplex area in large group, about 30 plus birds. The best time to get them is early in the morning, the light is perfect and they are most active that time of the day. The birds are skittish and not comfortable with anything within 30 feet or so, so best to approach them is hide in the car at that distance. Once they get used to the environment, run as far as you can when they dive. You have about 15-20 seconds.
This is a drake Hooded Merganser taking off. I had the exposure setting for in flight (higher ISO and shutter speed in manual), pre-focused at an anticipated shooting distance and waited in car for the duck to dive. To control the direction, you can wait till your subject moves further to a corner instead of middle of the pond; doing that, you push the take off to one direction when it surfaces, less guessing works on your part. It’s taken handheld with 1.4x at 700mm.