The more decades I do this, the more I realize everything in photography comes down to one word: vision.
Call it vision, imagination, or seeing; it all comes down to the same thing: the ability to envision a final result in your mind's eye, and then to make it so with your tools at hand.
It's never been about the gear. It's always been about seeing something, knowing how you want it to look, and making it so. Making it so is the easy part; seeing it in the first place is what makes a photographer. Powers of observation are everything. Snapping a camera is trivial.