Astrophotography Skills Progession

Astrophotography is one of my favorite pastimes when I am able to do it. Where I live, the weather is very fickle, and the sky is not always accommodating. But when I am out in the field I have the opportunity to spend quality time in solitude, contemplation, and deep focus. Usually my failures, often brought on by careless mistakes, outnumber my successes.
I’m currently experimenting in new astrophotography techniques. This is a hobby that can take away all your money and time when you let it. I have put thousands of dollars into hardware and software trying to push my skills to the limit. Over time, my skills have grown and my knowledge of sky photography has deepened. Despite my recent improvements, I still take on a beginner’s mindset when learning new techniques.
Below is the result of my most recent imaging session, right from my front yard, followed by a display of how my skills have continued over the years.

M42 Orion Nebula – 02.02.21 – ~45 minutes exposure @ F/6 on an alt-az mount. 250 dark frames
The dramatic difference between afocal and prime focus imaging.
Started by taking pics by attaching my phone to a telescope. In 2017 I made LRGB composites using stacked frames from video captures
From a phone on a tripod, to a camera on an alt-az mount, to a polar aligned long exposure in 2020