This design is a combination of photo collage and illustration. Below are the photos I used for the collage. I have a vast photo library, and am still amazed at what happens when you compile photos, change blending modes, and use layer masks. This is a process I've been using since first being introduced to Photoshop in the early 2000's. I have learned that whenever something catches my eye, to take a photo of it. I never know how I will be able to use it in the future!
First, I blurred the sunset photo and duplicated it. Then, I added a photo of a blue lid with condensation on it and changed the blending mode. I used three of these photos at varying opacities and positions. I then added the gold, sparkly photo. I used two of them, each with different blending modes and opacities. Finally, I added the photo of dry, cracked earth, changing its blending mode as well. The result is below.
When I looked at this image, I saw an underwater image with a school of jellyfish. But it was still missing something. The photo needed a focal point. I tried a variety of plant photos to see if I could make some underwater plants, but none of those worked. I have a large collection of mushroom photos, so chose one, removed the mushroom from its background and changed the blending mode. It looked just like a jellyfish! I then used the brush tool to draw in its tentacles. 
From there, I copied and pasted the jellyfish so I would have three. I made additional copies as well and changed the opacity so they would look further away. Then I used a variety of tools, included burn and dodge and opacity changes to give the piece even more depth. Finally, I used a highlight layer to paint in some highlights. 
Here is the final result:
This was one of my favorite images to work on and has appealed to many people. I hope you enjoy it too!
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