Interesting read. As an active flickr user I'm truly amazed at some of the pictures people can take with basic gear (i.e. iPhone, etc). However, real photography does require an understanding of the interplay of the focal length, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and of course light.
Nowadays anyone can get capture a good photo. The difference is pros do it far more regularly because they're not relying on a lot of luck.
Loved the photos.
On a somewhat related note, one of my pictures was on flickr Explore today, so i'm quite chuffed about that.