I've been photographing textures lately to use with layering work in Photoshop CS4. Normally I don't do this kind of thing, but I feel it's important to always stretch your horizons, and learn new techniques. My friend and colleague, Dominique Doktor has been showing me some tricks and tips. I recommend you check out her blog to see some of her excellent work.
Here in NYC, there are useful surfaces everywhere. The more gritty and grungy, the better. Sure I get a lot of strange looks when shooting these. I see many expressions which clearly say "Why the hell is he photographing the wall?" Nevertheless, I continue to go about my work as these textures can be used to create something totally different.
For example, to create the shot above, I blended these two shots with layer masking. The process is fairly simple. Start with your original image, then open up a new layer with your textured image. Change the opacity of the textured image to around 30%. Next, apply a white layer mask to the textured image. Using a black brush at a reduced opacity of (10-50%) brush back in some of the areas where you don't want the texture to show. If you wanted, you can add more layers with different textures, etc. For this one, I felt that one layer was enough. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this kind of technique.