In some ways, photography can be an expensive hobby once you develop an appetite for accessories. The list of accessories is endless. The good news is that there are some people who are able to produce highly impressive shots using relatively simple and inexpensive equipment. I encountered two websites recently which will attest to that.
One is on portrait shots by David Roberts. See: http://www.pbase.com/deewun/portraits . Many of the shots on display were taken with a Nikon CP990 . This is a small digicam (not even an SLR!) that came out in January 2000. At that time digital cameras were still in infancy. It is amazing how David Roberts could produce such delightful images using a simple digital camera.
The other very inspiring website is: http://www.flickr.com/photos/31454864@N00/favorites/show/ . The pictures are taken by strobists, the name attached to photographers who use simple off-camera flashes to augment the lighting in their images. Strobists take particular pride in going after cheap gear. After all, if one can light up his subject sufficiently using a group of flash guns strategically positioned, then it is not really necessary to have the brightest and most expensive lens to do the job. And we are talking about inexpensive, unsophisticated flash guns here.
I don't know about you; but I am inspired by these two websites. I believe that by trying to get the most out of the existing gear, one will be able to focus better on mastering the techniques in photography. Photography does not have to be an expensive hobby.