a photo study: tempo

wpc_friendTempo as a composition element within photography is an extension of Ted Forbes’ discussion of rhythm…the beat…the pulse within images. He notes that tempo is the means by which we display speed, movement, as well as the passing of time all within a frozen moment.
Within the comment section of the YouTube video , Tempo in Visual Composition and Photography, Ted Forbes furthers his discussion by noting that

tempo is different than the ‘rule of xxx’ stuff. Every photo has a tempo—a pace at which the elements relate to one another. This is simply becoming conscious of these relationships and learning how to vary the pace of the images you create.

Speaking of music within composition, here is a blog by Moss and Fog who offers us a video that is “a fascinating experimental film by Marcin Nowrotek [who] combines 3D footage of jazz musicians and 3D animations to create a video that brings amazing depth and physicality to the screen.”  Enjoy.

As always, I would love hearing your thoughts and seeing how you understand Ted Forbes’ discussion of tempo within photography.


  1. The second picture intrigues me. We associate blur with speed, but in this case, because one hand is stiller than the other, it seems to show slowness. Time passes on one hand; on the other, time slows almost to a stop while something that requires care is accomplished. Another idea it prompts is I’ve often heard ‘on one hand… on the other hand’ but rarely seen it. 🙂

    1. Interesting…I’ve found myself wondering if this perspective reflects an experience of mindfulness…being present with breath, action, feelings, etc?

  2. Amazing photos, Brenda. May I ask how did you take #1 and 3? #1 — bikes are in focus, which is easy to understand, but the woman on the left side, it’s not possible she kept in that posture all the time, s it? #3 — how did the tree on the back (right side) get focused? I just couldn’t figure out ;-( You are definitely more advanced than I am 😉
    Have a great day.

  3. Good day Helen. Thank you for taking the time to visit and post your questions. The first image was created about 3 1/2 years ago while walking about a college campus with motion blur in mind: f/22 0.6s 24mm 100 ISO. I have found that using a neutral density filter helps with motion blur…yet it seems to me that with the f-stop at 22 I most likely did not use a density filter. Also, I not sure how I set the shutter speed. The students had gathered together as if they were waiting for someone and when they began to disperse I began with the shutter. So…I suppose the woman on the left keep that posture for 0.6s. Image #3 was created by editing the sharp image of the trees in Nik’s Analog Efex Pro 2 software. I have yet tried to play around with moving the focus ring to create an image similar to the one Ted Forbes speaks of within the video. Yet, I must disagree about being more advanced. Hope you also have a great day.

    1. Thank you, Brenda. I didn’t realize you have replied my message (since you didn’t reply my comment — you started a new comment instead, I didn’t receive a notification ;-), I just came to admire your photos (again) and found your reply. Thank you so much!!! Good night.

      1. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a way of knowing when a mistake was being made while making the mistake? Does that make sense?

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