Cell migration is a cyclic process in which integrin-containing adhesion complexes continually turn over: these assemble at the front of the cell as protrusions form and disassemble at the rear when it retracts. To understand the macromolecular choreography involved, we need new, quantitative methods to follow it. On p. 5521, Claire Brown and co-workers describe how they have developed image correlation microscopy (ICM) to do just this. Previously used only for static images, ICM is a variant of fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) – a technique for determining the concentration, aggregation state and dynamics of fluorescently tagged molecules. Brown and co-workers have now extended the technology to allow them to analyse image stacks from time-lapse sequences retrospectively and dynamically map adhesion turnover. This approach reveals that integrin α5 is present in clusters before it enters adhesions but becomes further clustered in nascent adhesions, whose formation it appears to initiate. It also demonstrates that α5 and the cytoskeletal linker α-actinin are robustly associated even outside adhesion complexes. Finally, the new technique shows that, as adhesions disassemble, whereas paxillin diffuses away rapidly, integrins often remain attached to the substrate and α-actinin is transported away by some form of retrograde flow.