The Trusty Bean Bag
There are all sorts of beanbags available specifically to help you stabalise your camera. The type of beanbag above left will help you line up your camera on the right angle for your shot. The type of beanbag on the right (Stealth Gear Extreme flat beanbag - forest Green) could be very handy indeed - in fact we just added it to our wish list, and will update you should we decide to buy it. Not only would it enable to use a fence or post to help stabalise your shot, it would also enable you to turn your car into a hide - if you open your car window the beanbag will rest on the opening in your door. It has a handy strap to help you carry it without too much fuss, and even wrap it around branches for extra support. There are however hundreds of designs available and which one is right for you will depend upon what you want it for - for example, you may want something particularly small for convenience.
Camera beanbags often come without the beans, so you may need to get hold of some "filler" seperately which can easily be done on-line. Polystyrene balls would probably be the lightest material to carry - but it can be a matter of personal preference.
The Pocket Tripod
Pictured above is the Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom Tripod for DSLR Cameras. This particular model of GorillaPod is pretty heavy duty and will do the job far better than the tripod which was used to take the Rome picture above (it has a load capacity of up to 3KG). A GorillaPod also has the advantage of being able to bend around objects and grip to them. In Rome this could perhaps have been used to attach the camera a lighting post, or tree-branch. We don't own a GorillaPod (yet), but we know a man who does and we want it!
Joby do a range of GorillaPods which can be browsed using the links below. The key is to look at the specifications and make sure the GorillaPod you opt for can handle the weight of your kit.
For a compact camera this is possibly the best option of the three we have given here. There is a time and a place for them to be used with an SLR also - which is why we want one...
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