I couldn't agree more. I appreciate your post. These discussions are difficult online because it takes a while for the give and take to show up. I continue to work on my approach both to the technical side and to the subject (pun intended).
When I decided to get a DSLR, I got a 60D with just one lens, the 15-85. We started going out to more places and I fell in love with bird photography. The 15-85 isn't a very effective lens for this endeavor. I added the 70-300L not long thereafter. It opened up a new world to me.
In discussions like these, it becomes apparent to me that many people think it's "either/or"... black and white, etc. I can tell that isn't the case with you because you mentioned the new equipment as well. Without a telephoto lens, I wouldn't even be able to develop my own skills, but as you stated, without the personal improvement, my photographs would be forgettable.
Some of the "getting closer" advice is harder for me to do, though I do agree with it in principle. We frequent many nature preserves around here and in many cases, you would have to brave swamps to get closer and I'm not that adventurous. We often see gators right along the paths we walk and just the other day, one walked across the path, right behind us, as we were set up to photograph a resident Great Blue Heron.
Light? That is another matter completely. I am with you: I don't think we can underestimate the effect good light has on our photography. After all, a photograph is really just captured light.
Btw, thanks for posting the link. That was the one to which I was referring.
Kim (the male variety) Canon 1DX2 | 1D IV | 16-35 f/4 IS | 24-105 f/4 IS | 100L IS macro | 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II | 100-400Lii | 50 f/1.8 STM | Canon 1.4X III
RRS tripod and monopod | 580EXII | Cinch 1 & Loop 3 Special Edition | Editing Encouraged