I wanted to share with you my latest personal photographic experiment: creating the first ever camera lens made of ICE – “Iceberg Lens Project”. Shooting photos and videos using the ice lens was my dream for almost 2 years.

After some research I discovered that almost no one ever tried this crazy idea, mainly because it’s hard as hell to find pure ice, and even harder to get a clear image.

So I had the choice to give up on my dream because it was too hard, or to just level up in the craziness. Then I thought that if it’s hard to find pure ice in my city, I should go where I could find some 10 000 year old pure ice – the famous Iceberg Beach in Iceland. The night before the experiment, there was a huge storm and all icebergs were dragged away from the beach so we had no choice but to wait a few days.

Three days later we arrived to the beach at 5AM and had the chance to see some huge icebergs all over the beach. We stayed there freezing for almost 6 hours to create.. the one and only working ice lens.

Now here are some facts:

– First of all, the life-span of a lens made of ice is very short, so you can’t move very far from where you create them. 

– Focusing is extremely hard because of the water melting on the lens itself.

– Shaping one lens made of ice takes 45 minutes because of the ambiant cold.

– If your lens breaks in the mold, you have to start all over again.

– I hacked a Japanese cocktail ice ball maker to create half spheres.

– The housing of the lens was made using a homemade 3D print model.

– All photos were shot in the last minute of the last ice lens.

– The beginning of the video was shot in the last usable seconds of the last ice lens.

– No, I didn’t ruin my camera with water. Even though it was pretty dangerous, I managed to keep the system dry.

And, of course, I made a video about the full adventure!


More info: mathieustern.com