Let me start out by stating it's NOT the top of the line camera, over-priced lenses, or any other equipment that makes stunning images. It's simply the person standing behind the camera - nothing more, nothing less. It's a matter of being in the right place at the right time and knowing how to compose the shot and use the equipment available to you.
When I first started shooting large format in 1988, I used an old cast iron Burke and James 4x5 camera I picked up at an auction. This camera served me well until I bought a much lighter Tachihara 4x5 camera in the early 90's which I used until about 2009. Since I wanted the best resolution possible at the time, I also ventured into the realm of 8x10 format in 1997 by purchasing a Tachihara 8x10. I noticed my photography skills greatly improved when I started shooting this format because every time I clicked the shutter, it was a $15 bill for film and processing. During this time, I would also take the exact same shots with my trustworthy Nikon FE 35mm camera. The smaller format was great for publications and an easy way to get duplicate slides in the field.
In 2009, I made the leap into digital photography by purchasing a Leaf Aptus 75 medium format digital back (33mp), Mamiya 645 AFDII body, and Mamiya lenses. This setup easily matched the resolution of my 4x5 Tachihara camera with the best lenses. In 2012 I switched to the Nikon D800E for my main camera body. I also travel with a Sony a6000 as my point and shoot backup camera. When I really need to zoom in on something from a distance, I'll grab my wife's Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V which is an incredible little camera.
Here is a list of my current equipment:
Nikon D800E camera body - company info
Nikon 18-35mm f/3/5-4/5G ED lens - company info
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF lens - company info
Nikon 70-200mm f/4G ED VR lens - company info
Velbon Carmagne 630 carbon fiber tripod - company info
Acratech Ultimate ball head - company info
Sirui T-024X carbon fiber tripod - company info
Sony a6000 camera body - company info
Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS lens - company info
Zeiss Vario-Tessar T E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS lens - company info
Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS lens - company info
Sony RX100 camera - company info
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V camera - company info