It's an art. In the end, it's no different from any other art. A painter uses his brush, a chef uses his kitchen, just as a photographer uses his camera. Perhaps there are very mild advantages to having nicer equipment but it's important to not let that persuade you in doing what you do. If you're having trouble understanding this, here is a comparison from famous photographer, Sam Haskins; A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said 'I love your pictures - they're wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.' He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: 'That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove.'
So you wanna work for National Geographic? There is this false idea that if you can produce truly stunning images, you'll, one day, be blessed to work for Nat Geo. Sorry to break the news but speak to any Nat Geo photographer and they'll tell you that the photography is less than 10% of the job. You must first passionately master the art of storytelling and then use your photographs to add power to your story. Over time, anyone can learn to use a DSLR camera and produce worthy images but it takes time, dedication, and a passionate heart to tell a truly powerful, meaningful story.
So you wanna be an adventure photographer? It's hard for me to say what "type" of photographer I am. I want to say I'm a Nature/Adventure Photographer but I always bite my tongue when using the word adventure. It's relative. Sure- I find myself backpacking 20+ miles through bear country in a wicked hail/snowstorm with little to no food and only a tent for shelter. Or climbing walls taller than my life holding on by only my bleeding fingertips. But then I look at Jimmy Chin and feel like a total wimp. Back to the point- if you wanna be an adventure photographer you must first learn to master the mental art of suffering and build an unstoppable physical strength. I can assure you, the most challenging part of reaching the summit of a mountain will not be taking the photographs ..
I've never been in it for the money and never will be. Honestly, if you start you photography career off with the main drive being money, you might as well start writing up contracts and prepare to sell your soul to bridezilla. Discover what it is you truly love and use the camera as a creative tool to help showcase.
Thank you for reading and being involved.