Archives For December 2013

From London’s Streets

December 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

All taken just before the holidays.

Worlds Collide [Explored]

Escaping The Rabbit Hole [Explored]


On Break


Oxford Street

Top 10 Images From 2013

December 19, 2013 — 6 Comments

Holiday greetings all!

Street photography has dominated my photography for the entirety of this amazing year. Indeed, so lucky have I been with my photos, I managed to publish a book of my best urban scenes around London, London Moments.

These next images are my 10 personal favourites from 2013.

10. St Paul’s Cheer Squad

The cover of my book and a moment that so nearly didn’t happen. These cheer leaders had just finished their routine and I arrived just in time to catch them disbanding.

St Paul's Cheer Squad [Explored]

9. Three Four Five Six

And, of course, my book’s rear cover. London is a busy financial district so art, architecture and business folk coming together for a great street photo is quite impressive.

Three Four Five Six

8. Urban Landscape

Landscape images in the City? No less impressive for being contemporary and devoid of nature.

Urban Landscape [Explored]

7. Southbank Skater

Always a pleasure to watch these guys at the Southbank.

Southbank Skater

6. Group Dynamics

Each time I view this image, I smile with the memory of stumbling across this dysfunctional looking group.

Group Dynamics

5. Aldgate East

London’s Underground is an icon in every way and I love to break up my street photo walks by covering a few stops on the Tube.

Aldgate East

4. Surprise!

Sometimes you find a moment where people become integral to the story dictated by the environment.


3. Run!

One of the first really prominent scenes to fit my mission to capture people in London environments. A wonderful and decisive moment.


2. City Hall

This winning image secured me the Professional category 1st place of Open House London‘s photo competition. A lot of entries and a prominent judging panel. I was even featured photographer on Leica’s own blog, with a short interview.

City Hall (London Open House Competition Winning Entry)

1. Cool Bride

The heavens parted the rains for one day and my sunny August wedding day was just perfect. Suzy signed on the dotted line and officially became my better half!

Cool Bride

I hope your photography was as rewarding as mine during 2013. Please leave your links in the comments – I would love to see your favourites too!

Here’s to a great New Year and an awesome 2014.

You Cannot Play Here

December 18, 2013 — Leave a comment

You Cannot Play Here pt I


I didn’t hear the entire exchange, but I think Alice was moved on due to the audience constricting the sidewalk.

Maybe I am too quick to judge but I was surprised to see this Warden simply move Alice on rather than terminate her set.

On my way back to the Camden Underground station, I was pleased to see her back on ‘stage’ merely 100 yards further on.

You Cannot Play Here pt II

My seasonal spirit might just be emerging from the inky depths of lake Baahumbug.

From London’s Streets

December 15, 2013 — Leave a comment

Girl Without A Name
Strangely enough, I was ‘caught’ taking this shot below…
Safe mobile using cyclist, “Will I be in a magazine?”.
Not quite so ninja street photographer, “Sorry, not a chance.”.
Mobile Contractor

Memories Of Venice

December 12, 2013 — 1 Comment

Taken last August, the Sun beat down and those in Gondolas had no escape from the canals already teaming with boats.

Memories Of Venice

Well, they might be enjoying the ride just a little bit.

This tutorial actually covers every type of image, color or black and white. For landscape, you might process the sky alternately from land but, this process is especially relevant to Leica Monochrom shooters who work on monochrome files from the start.

Black and white imagery is simple and the power of an image comes through the composition, but the instantaneous impact is down to the dark room process. Imagine Ansel Adams’ photography without the beautiful contrast work he employed to varying degrees and sections of each and every one of his photographs? Great photos, still, but so much less impact.

I will work through an example to show how I utilize masking, within Photoshop, to get the best from the major areas in an image. It’s not a great composition, so apologies up front.

This image above is straight from the camera. No in camera settings applied, so it is tragically bland. Thankfully the Monochrom files retain immense levels of detail.

There are 3 areas to concentrate on.

  • I want to see a great range of soft tones in the woman and with a good level of contrast, but not so much she looks hollowed out
  • The window display is behind glass and I tend to process reflective areas harshly with great clarity and contrast
  • The masonry work should look worn, but still bright. This means very little clarity/structure

The image below is processed for the woman, but the window display is lack lustre and the masonry looks the worse for wear.

This next image is processed for the window display, but the harsh nature of the process leaves the woman over ‘processed’ and the masonry is just awful.

And lastly, below, we have processed for the masonry work and brought back some of its majesty, whilst reflecting age and wear.

Photo manipulation is probably off somewhere celebrating a near 100th anniversary, so I can have my cake and eat it!!

A warning for you color photoshoppers – your selection accuracy for the purposes of layer masking should be a lot more accurate than the ‘mostly accurate’ method I show here for monochrome work.

You should have all your specific layers stacked in a single image within photoshop. Having only processed them, they should all be down to the pixel aligned đŸ˜‰

Remember with layer processing that the topmost layer will be seen first and, if set to 100% opacity, you won’t see anything under it!

I will select the masonry from the ‘Masonry’ layer first and I will not select round the woman’s legs because she will be the topmost layer!

I will use the selection tool to select the masonry.

Click to show the Refine Selection dialogue.

It’s clearer to me to have unselected portions of the image highlighted in red. Click on the ‘View’ drop down to select this option.

I simply use the brush tool to ‘paint’ my selection edges and let Photoshop find the ‘edges’ for me.

You should end up with a more elegant selection edge, like so…

With the ‘Masonry’ layer selected, I can simply click on the ‘Mask’ button…

… and Photoshop will create my mask based upon my refined edge selection!

The layer should now have a mask applied. Black areas will not show, but white will. Shades between black and white, within the mask, will be grades of opacity depending on how near they are to black or white.

Here are the layer masks, clearly showing woman, on top hehe, window display and masonry work…

… resulting in our final image. Click on it for a larger 1600 pixel version.

Again, apologies for the choice of image, but we have a clear demonstration that a single image wide process will not provide desired results but, with layer masking, we are allowed to process elements of the image however we wish.


Ideas For Christmas!

December 6, 2013 — Leave a comment

It has been a great year for me on London’s streets, so I am especially pleased to be able to share my new book with you all.

Square format, 7 inches on a side, and 80 pages of my best urban scenes from the last year. And, of course, all taken with Leica Monochrom so exclusively black and white!

London Moments by Michael Walker-Toye

It’s getting very close to the holidays and, if you have family and friends who appreciate great street photography this is a treat.