I realised earlier that I really don't say much about the camera I use. In some ways it's good to think of the camera a simply a tool, and as long as it's capable of giving you the results you want, that's all you need. When I was using film I used a Chinon CE5, which in itself was a great reply to the perennial "You must use a fantastic camera" comment. People were expecting me to say "Yes, a £5,000 Canon/Nikon", when in fact it was a secondhand £50 Dixon's own brand...
These days I use the Pentax K10D. It's a 10 megapixel Digital SLR, which is nothing extraordinary these days. What is extraordinary is that it's fully weather sealed, has in-camera image stabilisation (so any lens, not just the expensive ones, are stabilised), is immensely customisable, so both of it's command dials can do just about whatever you want them to, has some new exposure modes, has an 11 point autofocus system (nine of which are cross type sensors) and has unlimited continuous jpeg shooting (over 3 frames a second until your card is full). All for £399 body only.
The Nikon (D80) and Canon (400D) cameras in the same price bracket just don't compare. Add to that the great kit lens (18-55mm), which knocks spots off the Canon offering for sure, and you can't go wrong. And no-one else makes lenses like the 'Limited' series, or the 'Pancakes'.
I've just got myself the Pentax FA50mm f/1.4 lens, which is just sublime, and along with the Pentax 16-45mm, Pentax 50-200mm, Sigma 105mm macro and Sigma 10-20mm I've got a versatile, high quality set-up that allows me to achieve the results I need.
Never let anyone tell you that you need a Canon or a Nikon to be a 'proper' photographer.