A lens 10,000 years in the making...
Mathieu Stern may be the weird lens aficionado, the master of funky glass, but he has certainly outdone himself this time. Forget lenses from rare Russian projectors. Forget lenses that are over a century old. Forget lenses that were literally pulled from a pile of garbage. Stern has taken it upon himself to travel to Iceland to build the most interesting DIY lens that you'll probably see this year (or any year) out of ice he collected from an iceberg. And that's not even the coolest thing about it.
Check out the video below to learn all about his journey.
According to Stern, he had this idea swimming around in his brain for the last two years before he actually decided to embark upon the journey that eventually allowed him to make the Ice Lens. He drew up the designs for the lens, 3D-printed the individual pieces, and then "hacked" an ice ball maker to form an optical half sphere. Once that was completed, Stern decided to travel to Iceland in order to harvest pure ice from the nearby icebergs. Why? Because melted ice from deep within icebergs is said to be 7,000 times purer than tap water. Though that figure isn't exactly quantifiable scientifically, iceberg water does have extremely low mineral content, which means once that ice was harvested and formed into a lens, Stern was able to capture relatively clear images with it.
Now, as I said before, the fact that this lens was made out of a friggin iceberg is not the coolest thing about it. In my opinion, the coolest thing about it is that the lens only lasts one minute before it melts. It's there for a single minute and then—it's gone. Forever. The tool that allowed Stern to capture what probably became some of his most favorite and beloved images no longer exists and never will again. Think about it! What Stern created through so much time, effort, and toil—designing the elements, hacking tools, traveling thousands of miles over two years—the Earth simply took it away in under a minute, leaving behind the memories of not only what was captured but also what they were captured with.
That. Is. Cool.