We got off the ferry at Jack London Square last night and followed a recent routine: First checking the water around the dock for the presence of a big run of little silver fish--maybe some sort of Oakland Estuary smelt--then looking for the black-crowned night herons who show up here to dine of a Friday night (and unencumbered by calendars no doubt every night). The fish--they were there. A constant silver flashing in the water around the dock, looking like a roiling school of fish that must be finding something down there to feed on. The night herons: present, too. Like last week, I tried to get a picture of one by docklight, but the best I could do was a long-exposed smudge of an image. What I need to do with my point-and-shoot, in the absence of a tripod, is set it up to shoot with a delay and then find a place to set it down before I trip the shutter. That way I can take the shot without the inevitable movement that shows up when you need to take a long exposure. But to make that work, the improvised platform needs to have a good angle in reference to the subject. Last night, I spotted a couple of short planks the tide appeared to have stranded on the rocks, maybe 40 feet from the heron. They looked like they would work as a camera platform. I started down the rocks, with Kate cautioning me that I'd already had a beer (and was in her view a pratfall candidate). I got to the planks without the bird flying away. I put the camera down, pressed the shutter, and stood back while the picture was taken. Just as the shutter released, the heron flew up--annoyed, I'm sure, by the interruption of its evening dietary pursuits. The image above was what I got. Sort of a ghost heron.