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User / Pixelated Sky / Twisty Tick Tock
Peter Whitfield / 430 items
Torsion pendulum.

When my father wasn’t drinking home-brewed beer or gardening (the two activities seemed to occur together), his main pastimes in retirement were the study of insects - mainly flies (Diptera) and beetles (Coleoptera) - and repairing clocks (which appealed, I guess, to the restless engineer within).

Well more accurately, attempting to repair clocks.

This is the picture of one of my father’s working clocks: a 400-day torsion pendulum chronometer. These clocks just need winding once a year, and rather than having a swinging pendulum the escapement is driven by the twisting back and forth of a weighted disc suspended by a thin strip of steel, in this case about five inches long.

Each swing, or tick, takes about six seconds, and so a minute has five tick-tocks. Because the movement is so slow the energy needed to keep it going is low, and the same sort of coiled spring that drives a weekly-wound pendulum clock will drive the torsion pendulum version for a whole year.

These clock movements are lovely to look at working: quite relaxing and mesmeric...

My own interests take after my father’s in many ways: gardening (wine rather than beer) and insects - particularly ants (which along with the other social insects, wasps and bees, form the Hymenoptera group) - ... and, yes, clocks.

So part of my challenge for the Macro Mondays group’s theme Timepieces this week was to get this clock working. The torsion spring had snapped a while back, and so it needed to be replaced. And these clocks are a pain to set up so they keep going…

But we got there and I was rather pleased with myself even before I tried taking a photo of it. And that is a Good Thing because my normal MM photography experience is a slow descent into desperation :)

I wanted to convey the twisting of the pendulum in the image. I tried a slow shutter speed - about half a second was needed to get the impression of movement - but the blur rather hid what the image was about.

Plan B was multiple-exposure.

This is an in-camera multiple exposure of just three images. At the bottom on the brass disc there are two counterweights on long screw threads which are used to adjust the speed of the escapement so if you - in the image you can count six (on a good day with one eye shut :) ).

The image is cropped to under three inches wide for the group.

Thank you for taking the time to look. I hope you enjoy the image! Happy Macro Mondays :)

[Tripod mount; natural daylight, black card background; 3 shot in-camera multiple exposure.
Developed in Capture One to get the warm brass tones and reduce the background. Reduced Clarity and noise. Cropped to reduce the width of the image subject to the guidelines for the group.
Cleaned up the dust in Affinity Photo with the inpainting tool. Strong soft dark vignette.]
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  • Taken: Mar 11, 2019
  • Uploaded: Mar 11, 2019
  • Updated: May 21, 2019