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Fantastic Optical Zoom Time-Lapse Takes Us on a Journey to the Orion Nebula


When physics professor and amateur photographer Isidro Villo says he’s taking you on a time-lapse journey to the Orion Nebula, he means it quite literally. He doesn’t just track Orion across the sky or create yet another Milky Way time-lapse, he literally zooms from ground level all the way in until M42 takes up the entire frame.

Villo has spent two years on this project, getting the gear ready to capture what he calls ‘deep space time-lapses.’ But even though it took a long time to come together, in astrophotography terms, he’s managed to get away with a relatively inexpensive rig.

All he’s using is a Canon 5D Mark II, an XSi, a Sigma 50-500mm, a 2x Canon teleconverter and a Meade LX80 mount to track the stars.


The rest of the magic is being performed by the home-built rig that runs the 50-500mm lens. That system, seen above, slowly zooms and pulls focus while the camera is doing its thing. The final product is what you see a the top, and is only the first of many zoom-lapses he hopes to create.

To learn more about this particular time-lapse or if you’d like to see more of Villo’s work, head over to his Vimeo profile by clicking here.