One of the unexpected gifts I received for Christmas was a tripod. Ken and Dianne gave it to me while we were visiting them on the weekend before Christmas (though I forgot to take it with me… I had [Corey](http://corey.prwdot.org/) meet me to drop it off this week). It was originally used by one of Ken’s former employers for testing audio equipment, and he hasn’t used it much in the past few years, so he’s letting me have it.
Anyway, I’m starting to practice using it; setting it up and taking it down, adjusting the various controls, and taking photos with it. Here’s my first attempt at taking a [nifty photo](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/etcetera/grab_bag/P1060697.JPG.html) with help from the tripod. The main area where it will be of benefit is in taking photos at slower shutter speeds; normally, I can’t hold the camera steady enough to take a shot at slower than 1/30 of a second without some serious blurring… my camera’s built-in [image stabilization](http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz20/page5.asp) notwithstanding.
A really sturdy tripod is something I’ve been wanting for the past few years, but have never had the extra funding to purchase. I hope to utilize it to its full potential with our existing camera, as well as the camcorder which we hope to buy in the next few months.