The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.
… and from the photographer’s point of view…
Yes, the gear can be a fascinating (and expensive!) way to play with photography, and in some cases it can certainly help. Ansel Adams said the single most important component is the photographer - he didn’t say the photographer is the only component of photography. The real challenge of photography is finding a way to express a vision onto paper (or into a digital file). Part of that process is the choice of the right equipment, but the ability to see (and to see what is being seen!) must be a foundation for any selection of equipment or choice of camera settings.
Along with the many images on this site, thousands of Bill’s photographs can be seen on his flickr pages,