© Snowy Mountains Photography 2017

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BRETT SMITH

I grew up in Canberra in the 60’s & 70’s, which in those days was more a little country town than the bustling hive of activity it is these days. My Grandfather and idol, Jack Kemp, took on the role of father and from about 6 years of age I spent every weekend in the bush with him, either fishing or chasing rabbits and foxes. Most of those weekends were spent in the, not too far away, Jindabyne region of the New South Wales Snowy Mountains. 


At 17 years of age I left school, bought a Chinon SLR camera, with motor-drive  and headed off to the Northern Territory in my little Suzuki 4WD. I ended up at Ayers Rock where I spent 9 months as a ‘Trades Assistant’ to the builders of the Yulara resort. We worked 6 days a week and on my day off I ran around with my new camera taking hundreds of photos of the amazing landscape and wildlife. All photos were on slide film, which then had to be mailed to Adelaide for processing! Soonafter I was offered a position with the Northern Territory Conservation Commission doing my childhood dream job; ‘Park Ranger’. For the next 12 months I worked at Katherine Gorge National Park and when I wasn’t emptying bins or cleaning the public toilet blocks I was taking photos, thousands of them! Before long all of my pay was going on developing film and new lenses! Being in one of the most stunning and unique landscapes of the world I was very lucky to escort world famous photographers, including the National Geographic crews, through the park to all of my favorite locations. The love of photography grew even deeper!


The following year I was offered a job as a Ranger at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Canberra. Getting a little homesick I decided to jump in the little Suzy and drive nearly 4000km back home! Tidbinbilla was a fantastic opportunity to photograph an incredible array of birdlife in particular and having the job of preparing their diet and feeding them every day allowed me to get very close to them for some incredible photography!


I only spent a year at Tidbinbilla when I allowed a school friend to talk me into joining the Australian Federal Police and this is where I spent the best part of the next two decades! On the very long and often boring shifts of up to 37 hours I dreamed of getting enough money together to buy a little piece of paradise on the Moonbah River, where I spent all those early years as a child with my Grandfather. In 1990 that dream was realized when I secured some land a mere 200 metres upstream from the little cattlemans hut my Pop and I spent so many snowy nights in, all those years ago!


With the dream location sorted I started building a little ‘log cabin’ to live in – 27 years later I’m still going but I now have a couple more ‘cabins’ and feel very lucky to share my little dream with all the like-minded people who come to visit me every year. In 2011 I retired from the ‘workforce’ and now spend my days taking my guests all over the mountains chasing photographs of all the wonderful wildlife and scenery that this world class region offers…if you’d like to join me sometime just let me know.
Warm Regards, Brett