Zenfolio | Images by MEV | Playing with Time

Playing with Time

April 16, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

In my last post, I posted a picture of a metronome. It was one of my entries inspired by Wabi Sabi and appreciating an object (or person) for what they are in spite of imperfections.  I was attracted to the metronome because it represented an old way of measuring time, with its arm moving back and forth with an audible click.  You had to wind it up and you had to move the weight to the time indicator...adagio, adantate, presto, etc.  And the beat mechanically marks time.

I wanted to play with time a bit more after Wabi Sabi challenge for my small group.  I am especially interested in depicting time in music.  There arre several ways to think about musically-inspired time.


  • The time signature
  • Measures
  • Notes whose coloring and stems indicate the length of a particular sound
  • Metronome markings
  • Timing indicators:  Adagio, Presto, Rubato.


I wanted to bring these various "measures of time" together in a photo.  I had several building blocks that I composited together.


First the metronome that started this quest.  I spent some time catching photos that would indicate motion.  One big learning is figuring out when to press the shutter to freeze the metronome "arm" in an interesting spot.  I had a lot of misses.  But here is one that I liked.

PAD April 13 Metronome TwoPAD April 13 Metronome Two

Then I wanted to grab some music.  Something that would have elements of time signature, timing descriptors, and measures.  I took photos of several different musical pieces, but this is the one that I selected to "composite".


PAD April 13 Time SignaturePAD April 13 Time Signature But the page didn't really turn out the way I expected.  The lighting wasn't up to my usual standards.  What to do:

  • Retake? 
  • Play with filters?
  • Explore new features in photo editing apps different than PhotoShop or Lightroom?

I decided to play around with Luminar, a photo editing app that was introduced last year and had a dramatic upgrade recently.  The company behind this app was MacPhun that created all sorts of MAC and IOS apps.  Last year they introduced several new computer apps and expanded their range to PCs as well as MACs.  They also changed their name to Skylum.  I had played around with Luminar a bit and really liked how they allow you to set up a customized workspace. It could be filter/effects driven or you could use what they call professional workspace fairly similar to Lightroom.  Or you can make up your own.  I really liked that.

Plus, there were layers and the layers were easy to use.  A necessary component when compositing.

Back to my thought process about creating my composition.

To me the mixture of the music, the metronome and the coloring all helped to give an impression of what music and time means to me.  In that vein, I wanted to create several looks. I started out with using a Google Nik Plug-in that I discovered "worked" with in Luminar.  Ah, I miss my Nik filters.  I purchased all of them long before they became free and used them often within my workflow of old.  One of my favorite filters is Solarization within the Color Efex bundle.


I tried several different ways of solarizing.  And then decided that a white note piece of music would be extremely impactful against the background of the dark metronome.  I moved the array around so that my metronome was the bottom layer and then the solarized music filter.


PAD April 13 Solarized Music and Metronome with BlendingPAD April 13 Solarized Music and Metronome with Blending


I liked the look of the white notes and the dark metronome.  But I wanted to play a bit more with the filters within Luminar.  I tried a few one and like the vintage look below.  I think it represented the "oldness" that I wanted to convey.  I had the musical notation elements that I wanted to show:  time signature, metronome markings, various notes within the music, a metronome in action with its blurred arm.I was satisfied with the finished photo and I was extremely satisfied with my experience with Luminar.


PAD April 13 Solarized Music, Metronome, and Impression all within LuminarPAD April 13 Solarized Music, Metronome, and Impression all within Luminar


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