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Photographer turns 10,000-year-old ice into working camera lens

Photographer Mathieu Stern had one minute before his lens started melting.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
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Photographer Mathieu Stern used ice from Diamond Beach in Iceland to make a camera lens.

Jorge Fernandez/Getty Images

Just imagine the Instagram likes.

Photographer Mathieu Stern made a lens for his camera out of ice, according to a Tuesday post on his website.  

Stern, who wrote that "creating weird lenses" is his "thing," 3D-printed a frame that could hold the ice. It took Stern 6 month of work prototyping before he set off for Diamond Beach in Iceland where, he said, the glaciers take 10,000 years to purify particles inside the ice. 

In other words, he needed some pretty clear ice. 

Using a modified ice maker, Stern was able to shape the ice into the form of a lens. But it took five hours to make one working lens that didn't break in the mold. What's more, Stern had about a minute to actually use the lens before it would melt.

No pressure. 

Stern didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

"I was amazed by the images I saw on my screen," he wrote on his site, "of course they are not sharp or clean like a modern lens, but they are amazing when you know it's just a piece of ice that focused light."