Some viewers of photography are impressed with the effort that goes into an image. For example, the many steps that go into the photography and post-processing of an image like the one shown, or the all-night marathon of a Sunset to Sunrise star trail shot.
But ultimately effort does not matter, any more than equipment does. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t master your craft as best you can. It also make sense to use good gear if you can get your hands on it.
But effort and hardware are at most detours on the road. The true path is made from inspiration and those times—almost in spite of ourselves—that we capture something emblematic or a gesture in time. That’s what photography is about.