One or the first things that I advise students to do is to get a tripod.  In the search for the perfect picture you may find yourself in low light and needing a long exposure or you may wish to be in a picture.  The tripod is probably the second most important piece of equipment after the camera and lens

However it can take time and money to find the right tripod.  From a few pounds for a tabletop version to a few hundred for an all singing all dancing version, there are a bewildering array of choices for the beginner.  Not to mention the fact that you have probably spent a good deal of money on a camera. This joined with the fact that although you take your camera everywhere, a tripod can seem inconvenient and cumbersome when you are going for a long walk over the moor, or for a bike ride. So here is a tip that will

When starting out I would suggest that you keep a bag of rice in your camera bag.  It can sit happily at the bottom of the bag and provide extra padding however it will come into its own when you are trying to get that perfect shot.  All you need to do is find a support somewhere around you.  It could be a fence post, the saddle of your bike, a car bonnet or any other solid structure.  Place the bag on the support and mould it to create a flat surface on the top.  You can then nestle your camera body into the rice and you have a well supported camera. 

A few thoughts and provisios,

  • Use the cheap rice sold in a plastic bag with no holes (or tape over the holes) as non plastic may allow moisture to get to the rice.
  • Try and make sure that the support is roughly as wide as your camera for additional stability.
  • If you can, tie your strap to the support, or hold on to it so that if the camera falls it shouldn't hit the ground.
  • Be careful in windy weather.  Remember, the camera is not "fixed" to the support and a strong gust may blow it off. 
  • Try using the self timer to trigger the shutter.
  • If you have access to a bean bag then this will work equally as well.

Most importantly, please remember to use common sense and make sure that your camera is secure and stable before moving away.

RiceTripod5 Rice Tripod2 Rice Tripod4