So, I hope it's ok to post progression pics where the main camera was not necessarily a dslr? Let me know if it's not ok, and I'll remove it.
Sometimes a progression can be a little sideways. One of my earlier M42 area attempts that I was reasonably happy with at the time was this one, taken in 2007, under bortle 5 skies:
What still surprises me today is how sensitive that camera was in Ha, even unmodded. No unmodded camera I've owned since has shown that sensitivity.
The next attempt was more to show I could still do it. I had moved into an area with Bortle 9 skies, but that didn't deter me. So I got this one:
Fast forward to last year. I had moved to a bortle 4 location, used a faster lens, and spent way more time on the subject (mosaic) than I had planned. The result is semi finished, but shows the potential of fast lenses under darker skies:
Honestly, I don't know if I'll ever try that again. I may do a milky way one from my current dark sky location. It was a pretty exhaustive experience, not shooting, but post processing. My pc was absolutely smoking at the end of it.
Btw, my post processing skills have improved a little since the first one, but honestly, I can't say they improved all that much. I give most of the credit to: skies, scope/lens, and camera, in order of importance.
Hope this helps.