Last Autumn Drew Marsden was announced the winner of the competition Leica ran with Alladale Wilderness Reserve, which meant he received a pair of Leica Trinovid HD binoculars and a stay at Ghillie’s Rest on the River Alladale. In this blog Drew shares some of his images and experiences from his trip to Alladale.
Landscape photography is a style I rarely get to indulge in, as a street photographer I never find myself out of the city or away from people. However on this trip from Leica to Alladale Wilderness reserve I was immersed into the rural and remote beauty of the Scottish highlands. Working in the Camera department in film and television, trips away with my wife are few and far between. Leica’s generosity allowed us the time to truly enjoy a break from our day to day lives.
I’ve been a Leica photographer for a number of years and adore the look of the images created with these incredible tools.
I took my Leica M6, M-E TYP240, as much film I could fit in my hand luggage, a selection of Leica glass and, to help me survey the stunning landscapes and wildlife, I had an incredible set of Leica Trinovid HD binoculars. The trip would not have been the same without the incredible optics of the Trinovid HD’s, with excellent clarity, contrast, and razor sharp focus. A highlight was having the chance to see the salmon jump upstream in such detail, dolphins playing off the coast, and an otter fishing whilst we were hiking between the glens.
I found it impossible to take a photo I did not like at Alladale. Not even the changeable weather could impede the dramatic views to be seen there. I was lucky enough to be guided around the huge reserve by a ranger and taken to some incredible locations all whilst learning about the invaluable work the staff do at Alladale, rewilding the Scottish highlands, reintroducing wildlife and local plants.
As expected from a location such as Alladale, sustainability is key. Almost all of the food served by the fantastic chef Natasha has been sourced from the grounds of Alladale and we had the most delicious meals served to us in our beautiful cottage. We were lucky enough to be in Ghillies Rest, a true home away from home, secluded in the valley underneath Cairn Alladale. All of the staff at the reserve are wonderful and will do anything to ensure your stay with them is the best it could possibly be.
Being given an opportunity to immerse myself in such inspiring landscapes showed me again just how extraordinary photography can be. Its allure is both intimate and expansive, which is coincidently exactly how we felt about Alladale. My binoculars have now found a permanent home in my Billingham bag along with my Leica cameras and travel with me wherever I go.
I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to visit this incredible location, and we are already planning our return!
I’d like to also thank the amazing staff, and rangers at Alladale for their incredible hospitality and all they are doing for the environment.