Paris Through a Water Drop

Paris through a Water Drop. Click for a larger image

A refracted image of Paris as seen through a water droplet. Click the image to enlarge.
Image Credit: Bertrand Kulik

April 25, 2013

Photographer Bertrand Kulik captured the above image of Paris through a tiny water drop dangling from a rose petal. The tiny water drop acts as simple convex lenses, magnifying the distant Eiffel Tower. Acting as a lens, the water drop refracts incoming light to a focal point before the light spreads out again. The level of magnification for this natural magnifying glass depends on the length to this focal point and the least distance for distinct vision for the human eye — about 25 centimeters.

Surface tension maintains the droplet's spherical shape, creating a convex lens. This water lens inverted the image of the Eiffel Tower, however, so the above image was rotated 180 degrees to keep Paris right-side-up.

Teachers have used water droplets as simple magnifying devices in the classroom, and you can even use them to magnify pictures taken on your smartphone.