OK. Last night I made yet another attempt at photographing M42. This time I took a series of 90 second exposures, got all the needed flats, darks, and bias frames, and processed them with slightly more understanding of how to manipulate photos. Behold!
The red colors are still very faint, and I had to crop the image more than I wanted because of field rotation artifacts. but the level of detail visible is incredible compared to my earlier attempts. I am quite satisfied with this image!