Photo: Escher painting refracted in a drop of falling water

Reddit's Smsilton took this incredible 60mm macro shot of an iconic MC Escher painting being refracted through a drop of falling water, and documented the process:
Yeah I used the Canon 60mm macro f/2.8. I shot at ISO 640 and 1/250. It took about 150ish shots to get that one, ~2 hours. The hardest part was focusing, in the set up picture I posted in the first comment you can see a piece of string above the eye dropper. I would let that hang down off the eye dropper and focus on that, then move it and squeeze the dropper and the shutter at almost the same time. I have like 30ish more pictures with the drop clearly in the shot but the sketch behind it isn't in focus, this was the clearest one I got.
Water drop falling in front of an MC Escher sketch, I took this pic ( (via Neatorama)


  1. That’s really awesome. Using this print would be even more appropriate though.

  2. Now print this photo on a Möbius strip suspended by a 2/3 tine fork resting in a Klein bottle, and the space-time continuum will implode.

    1. …but to build on this, print the photo using a 3D printer & polarized nanobot goop programmed to make the characters move up & down (and down & up) the staircases. 

      That should make multiple instances of the space-time continuum loop around a multidimensional Big Bang/End of the Universe(s). 

    1. Ha, I found that image as (very well-done) graffiti in a back alley in Vancouver and use a picture of it as my desktop background!  The graffiti, not the original.  I never realized it was an Escher till now.  Thanks for posting that.

    1. I hope you’re not serious, because if you are then the only things I can find that might give you that impression are tiny Jpeg artifacts, nothing more.

  3. Hey, how’d zebbart do that? That wasn’t there when I commented. I swear. Oh well…great minds.

  4. I’m not sure there is even a single ” iconic MC Escher painting” in existance, because M.C. Escher was a master PRINTMAKER.  The image in question is a lithograph, which is a print produced from a ‘crayon’ drawing done on stone (or often metal). 

    But hey, Boing Boing is a really good tv show, despite such minor mistakes.

  5. The maker inside me is thinking that you could use a laser and photodiode right below the eye dropper to trigger a delay circuit that would then trigger the camera when the water drop fell long/far enough.

    Yeah, it would take longer to make than the two hours he spent taking this shot, but the fun would be in the making. And you’d be able to swap backdrops (pardon the pun) pretty easily.

    edit: okay, maybe it isn’t the maker inside me- more the engineer and perfectionist.

  6. I can’t believe you people are being so darned picky!  Who cares if he called it a sketch.  We call photographs pix today.  Escher is wonderful and this photo of a water droplet is very cool.  Why get bogged down in details.  Escher would laugh at you “holier than thou” critics.

  7. I applaud the effort to create this and purists may scoff, but this could also be created using any desktop 3D software.

  8. The original is a Lithograph, not a painting. This is important because there’s nearly as many professional printmakers as painters in the art world and no one even knows what printmaking is. Firefox doesn’t even have ‘printmakers’ in its dictionary.

  9. Apple Lane – who cares?  People who actually care about art, that’s who.  Using “painting” as a generic term for 2d art degrades the general level of public appreciation for art, something I would expect Cory Doctrow to care about, seeing as he himself is a producer of art & culture. 
    Escher put a lot of thought into the process used to create his images, and (like many artists) considered the process as much a work of art (or perhaps craft) as the resulting image, so using the right term for the media matters.

    EDIT- the original photographer calling the piece a “sketch” is perhaps acceptable, given that lithographic plates are produced by drawing. Depending on where he’s from, it might even be an accepted term for any drawing, though using more precise terms is generally the better policy when describing well known masterworks of art.

    Edit2- @ Daniel Tyson – Printmaking important? Maybe to fancy pants artists, but we here prefer things like the written word, right? Yep, gimme a good book any day- who need printing, amiright?

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