Leica Photographic Retreat, Hosted by Max Milligan

Perfect your photographic technique in the heart of the Highlands

Tuesday 3rd to Sunday 8th September 2024

Turn your artistic eye to the glens encompassed within Alladale’s mountainous ridges, lochs and roaring waterfalls; salmon leaps, red squirrels and majestic red deer will inspire plenty of photographic opportunities – whilst staying in the comfort of our eminently comfortable Highlands Lodge, with exclusive use to all the facilities, such as sauna, gym and billiard room.

This photographic retreat offers the opportunity to perfect your photographic technique in the field: learn composition from acclaimed fine art photographer Max Milligan; build your technical skills with Leica’s expert tutors; and feast your senses in the Highlands’ most picturesque rewilding destination.

The Leica photographic retreat offers guests the opportunity to photograph:

· Ancient, old-growth pine forests
· Leaping salmon at Glencalvie falls
· Red deer
· Red squirrels and black grouse
· Highland Cattle
· Scottish Wildcat conservation initiative
· Rare wildflowers and orchids
· Golden eagles in flight
· Ptarmigan and mountain hares on stony tops
· Panoramic landscapes, mountains and Highland glens
· The full moon lighting the wilderness
· Astrophotography and starscapes
· Seals and seabirds at Loch Fleet
· Embo beach sand dunes and the historic town of Dornoch

To reserve your place on the Leica Photographic Retreat, please get in touch to register your interest.

Tel: +44 (0) 1863 755338
Mob: +44 (0) 7709 749395

A recovering Eden

Leica's equipment offers unrivalled performance in the wild.

Alladale lingers long on the creative mind: What could the land look like if we allow it to heal? What beauty could return if we let nature lead the way? Alladale’s landscapes are a feast of colour, teeming with infinite opportunities for composition, and stunning experiences with Scotland’s native wildlife.

After centuries of decline, the ecosystem at Alladale is returning. Since the early 2000’s, the Reserve has been the site of a pioneering project to recover the Caledonian Forest of Scotland – a wilderness expanse of old-growth forest that once stretched 15,000 square kilometres. By restoring native plant and wildlife species and recovering lost habitats, the Alladale project aims to replace the missing pieces of the Highland ecosystem, while connecting curious, conscious travellers with nature.

The opportunity to master your photographic technique

Leica pursues excellence in photographic and optical equipment. Partnering with Alladale Wilderness Reserve, Leica has a shared vision of connecting people with nature. This experience allows you to learn from the best, with the best.

· Learn directly from Max Milligan with one-on-one photographic tuition in wild nature. Max will help curate your portfolio and shots taken during the course, giving tips on improvements and highlighting the successful elements of your work. He’ll discuss composition, lighting and lens choice, with examples of problems overcome in every type of light.

· Leica’s expert tutors will help you perfect your technical photographic skills, with guidance in Lightroom and Photoshop.

· This retreat gives you the opportunity to test Leica’s top of the range equipment. Kit from SL, Q and M systems is available to loan subject to availability. Please enquire in advance.

The experienced, artful eye of Max Milligan

A former wildlife cameraman, Max Milligan is an author and fine art photographer renowned for his painterly eye. Driven by nature, he uses no filters, flash and only minimal digital correction in his work, preferring natural and available light. Max is the UK’s foremost rewilding and nature restoration photographer. He is currently documenting the regeneration of four major rewilding projects in the UK, including Alladale Wilderness Reserve and Knepp Wildland. He will help you hone your photographic technique, build a portfolio, and inspire you to think creatively in a beautiful setting.

With eight books published and two in production, his titles have appeared in The Times Top Ten Travel Books of the Year and Condé Nast Traveller Book of the Month. His artworks hang in private and corporate collections worldwide including the prestigious Deutsche Bank collection in London and his fine art books are sold around the world including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Previous exhibitions include Kensington Palace, City Hall London and The European Parliament.

Max’s words and pictures have appeared in newspapers such as The Times, Daily Telegraph, FT, Guardian, Independent and magazines including Harper’s Bazaar, Condé Nast Traveller, FT How to spend it, New Scientist, Saturday Telegraph Magazine and Porter.

‘Milligan’s exceptional photography encompasses this rich diversity – the pictures are not ordinary coffee-table fodder’ 

The Times Top Ten Travel Books of the Year

The Details

Tuesday 3rd to Sunday 8th September 2024


£3490 pp - Classic Room (sharing occupancy)
£3750 pp - Superior Room (sharing occupancy)
50% single room supplement

£6230 for 2 persons - Classic Room (1 non-workshop participant)
£6750 for 2 persons - Superior Room (1 non-workshop participant)
50% single room supplement

All prices are for room sharing, 50% single room supplement applies. We can also accommodate partners / friends who do not wish to join the photographic elements of the workshop (still able to join the excursions as a non-photographer). The workshop must be paid for in advance by bank transfer or credit/debit card. Refunds or cancellation on the part of the attendee will be given as follows:
12 or more weeks prior to retreat: 50%
6 or more weeks prior to retreat: 25%

Included in the retreat

· 5-night fully guided experience with Max Milligan, Leica tutors and Alladale’s ecologists
· Full board from an expertly curated menu by Alladale’s leading chef
· Opportunity to test Leica equipment, including SL and M bodies and a range of lenses
· Portfolio curation sessions with Max Milligan
· Off-site visit to the Moray Firth
· Co-ordinated transfers to and from airport

Participants do not need a Leica camera to attend this workshop.

To reserve your place on the Leica Photographic Retreat, please get in touch to register your interest.
Tel: +44 (0) 1863 755338
Mob: +44 (0) 7709 749395

Day 1

You’ll be welcomed to Alladale Lodge in time for afternoon tea and cake after your transfer from Inverness Airport. Your host Max will introduce you to Alladale Wilderness Reserve, the history of the Highlands, and the vision for its restoration. Head out for sunset landscape shots of Glen Alladale, before returning to Alladale Lodge for a venison dinner, prepared by your chef Natasha. Max will discuss your personal specific interests and goals for the week.  With the Harvest Full Moon – only one evening past its zenith – Max will take those with an interest in night photography on a walk to shoot the landscape in this atmospheric light.

Day 2

Set off by 4×4 to the heart of the reserve with far reaching views of mountains and glens. After driving along Glen Alladale, you will then walk into the most northern stand of primary Caledonian pine forest in Scotland. This enchanting wood is brimming with plant life and, if lucky, you may even spot a black grouse or two.  Enjoy lunch back at Alladale lodge before heading off for a short bike ride down to Amat Lodge, a good spot for seeing red squirrels amongst the ancient Scots Pine and myriad hues of heather and moss. Those who have the energy can continue to Croick Church the historical scene of the terrible Highland Clearances which is visited by thousands of American and Canadian Scots paying respects to their ancestors who were forcibly driven from their highland homes.

Day 3

Today you will don your walking footwear and hike to the ‘two coast view point’ where you can see both the East and West coasts of Scotland from the same ridge. This beautiful trek promises stunning views and if lucky you might spot Golden Eagles soaring above or hares and ptarmigan on the stony tops. There will be the opportunity to photograph rutting red deer, with a tea-break visit to Deanich Lodge. In the evening, you’ll have the opportunity to review your images with Max.

Day 4

Heading off the reserve today, to the historic coastal town of Dornoch, visiting a beautiful nature reserve at Loch Fleet on the way. After lunch in Dornoch you can head to Dunrobin Castle, one of the oldest inhabited castles in the country with stunning gardens and architecture. Returning in the afternoon, we’ll stop by the Glencalvie falls for a masterclass of high-speed photography as Atlantic salmon valiantly attempt to ascend epic waterfalls to reach their spawning grounds.

Day 5

After breakfast, you’ll have the opportunity to photograph Alladale’s Highland Wildcats and learn about the conservation project underway to restore them in the wild. There is the optional extra of heading south to Fortrose on the Moray Firth for an exclusive boat trip to see bottlenose dolphins. Put the skills you have learnt over the week into capturing these magnificent Cetaceans, before heading on to Inverness airport and your journey home.

Activities for non-photographers available

Those who do not wish to follow the photographic agenda can pick and choose from the itinerary where they like, but there is also a plethora of other activities to relish. Alladale’s dedicated team will help curate your week:

· Guided ecological walks
· Guided foraging
· Fly fishing tuition with Alladale’s expert guide
· Clay pigeon shooting
· Mountain biking/e-biking
· Visit to Dornoch or Tain Pottery Centre
· Gym, sauna and spa treatments available

Max’s enthusiasm, passion and methods of teaching were a pleasure to experience and substantially more productive than any courses that I have been on, to date. I consider myself rebuilt in knowledge, technical understanding and workflow. It’s already evident in my output. Proof is in the pudding!

Tim Lewis, Leica User