When it comes to photography, what are you doing? Are you creating art? Does the technology excite you (having the latest or greatest gear and discussing (or arguing) online)? Do you feel like you are capturing a moment in time with your camera? Are you chasing the light? Do you think of yourself as a shooter? Is photography fun for you?
All answers are correct.
I am an artist. I am in pursuit of creativity with the goal of making a work of art photograph. I am not capturing a moment in time or chasing light, I am creating a photograph of the unique image in my mind. The most enjoyable part for me is translating my vision into a photograph, although, sometimes the process is extremely frustrating and challenging. More often than not, the result comes close but falls short of my high standards. However, when I have created a photograph that I love, the elation and satisfaction is worth all the effort.
What are you doing with your camera? Only you can answer that question. If you are a gear-geek and love gadgets, then you should save your money and buy the best every year. If you want more from photography, I suggest you focus on what you love to do, even if the initial results are limited and frustrating. Trust me, I know the feeling; I spent many years hiking with a backpack full of camera lenses only to come back dirty, sweaty and with a painful back. It took over a decade to realize what I was actually doing; it was a process that needed lots of time. I would not be where I am today without those painful years and I am thankful and without regrets.
If you are an artist like I me, put yourself near your favorite subject matter and take a hike, walk or a drive. Do not carry the camera or even touch it until you feel creative. I use my imagination to conjure up ways to use my camera to be creative. Your process may be different. Nonetheless, find what makes you happy and repeat.
Each journey is unique; most require the investment of time to achieve worthwhile results. Allow yourself the time to explore your enjoyment and improve along the way; being disappointed and wanting to give up are feelings that force you to change and grow. Figure out what your goal is and ignore everything else. Becoming incredible takes a very long time; you might as well enjoy the journey!