This is my third time attempting M45. Each time was on a different scope/camera combination and this was on the Planewave 14 CDK/FLI PL16803 combo. The field of view is actually too small to fit all of M45 in but one teammate was quite excited to try it anyway so try it we did!
Initially, because M45 is so bright we decided to do 120s exposures rather than our normal 600 and 120 second exposures. Then at the end I suggested an HDR experiment where we blend in some longer exposures to see what that would do. The answer turned out to be not as much as I’d hoped. The better experiment would probably have been to blend in even shorter exposures, say around 10-15 seconds…whatever would be short enough not to clip the brightest stars. Perhaps I’ll try that in the future. While the HDR didn’t really gain a lot here it did help keep the noise down in the outskirts where the longer exposures did help to hide that noise. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the result here. I was trying to highlight the wispiness of the dust along with the reflected blue light. A new stretching method also helped keep the stars smaller.
You can find all the technical details at astrobin.