Shooting Bufflehead from my inflatable kayak is the ultimate game of cat and mouse. It's incredibly difficult to get close to these guys, and it takes a delicate balance of skill and luck to anticipate their escape when the inevitably flee the boat. One technique I use is to push the birds into an undeveloped corner of the harbor because the backing shoreline prevents them from flying directly away; it forces them to escape more across my bow or along the side of the boat where I stand a chance of capturing them. Only once the birds have committed to an escape can I stop repositioning the boat, drop the paddle, and reach for the camera. I only have a second or two to square the bird, acquire focus, and capture before it's gone. So, yeah, this represents a pretty awesome result. The gold water is created by earthen cliffs in the background. I wasn't initially a fan of the blue ripples as I wanted an entirely gold surround, but they grew on me as I processed the image.
Pillar Point Harbor, Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County, California, 2/5/20
Canon 600mm f/4 IS II + 1.4x III on EOS 1DX Mark II
1/4000 at f/5.6, ISO 640