the cliffs of manhattan

The light source in the top photo is coming from in front of the figures on the rocks and to the right, casting shadows behind them and to the left. Finding another photo with the same light source and shadow direction was the key to creating the final image below. The technique I used here was to create a path using the pen tool in Adobe Photoshop to precisely isolate the kids and the rocks, then save that path as a selection and make it its own layer, and from there apply a layer mask to it so I could smooth the edges of the rocks and the kids, allowing them to be placed seamlessly on any background, which in this case was the Manhattan skyline as seen from the Empire State Building. After combining the two photos, the final step was to convert the image to black and white to achieve maximum tonal continuity between foreground and background.