My fabulous students from the Adult Hebrew class I teach generously gave me an Amazon gift certificate last month, and what I ordered with that gift arrived tonight - this nifty Dolica Tripod and Ball Head
So having this nice new tripod to play with, I thought I'd try it out with a self-portrait. The ball head made precise positioning of my Canon XSi DSLR much easier than with my cheapinski "Best Buy Special" tripod. I used a wireless remote control to trigger the camera for what turned out to be a six-second exposure. The resulting image didn't show any camera shake, so I'm happy (of course, there was no wind and no tractor-trailers passing by in my family room...)
It's a very nice tripod for the money - lightweight, of course, but the ball-head is very secure, the legs are individually adjustable for angle at the "hip," and the center column is reversable for down-low shooting... features not often seen at this price point.