Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Top 15 of 2015

Happy New Year everyone!

I can't believe it's 2016 already, that last year flew by! I feel like I only just recently arrived back in Canada, and already it's nearly time for me to leave again. I hate doing this. Moving back to city life after sixteen months in the mountains is never easy.

I've run out of working visas now, so unless the Canadian government relax some of their immigration laws, it doesn't look like I'll be living in Canada again for a while unfortunately. That won't stop me from hopefully spending a couple of months out here each year regardless. In the meantime, I'll be back on home soil for the next little while and I've already got a few ideas for some smaller trips closer to home in the next year.

2015 was an incredible year for me. Being back in the Rockies after nearly three years at home was a huge relief, it almost felt like I could breathe again finally. By the start of last year I had already been back in town for a couple of months and it didn't take long to settle back into mountain life. I also managed to get up to Alaska for a week during the spring, something I've wanted to do for years.

Once again, North America provided me with some unforgettable wildlife encounters last year, and I've selected what I think are fifteen of my strongest images from the past twelve months.

(click on an image to enlarge)

Pine tree in stream, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Bull Elk - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Pine Marten - Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
Barred Owl sleeping - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Female Grey Wolf - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Grizzly Bear - Lake Clarke National Park, Alaska
Great Grey Owl - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Moose cow with twins - Kananaskis Country, Albert, Canada
Female Grey Wolf - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Grizzly Bears - Lake Clarke National Park, Alaska
Great Grey Owlet - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

 Northern Lights over Cascade - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Grey Wolf Pup - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Grizzlies in love - Lake Clarke National Park, Alaska
Grizzly Bear tracks - Lake Clarke National Park, Alaska

I've got less than a month left in Banff now, so I've decided to take January off work and focus on trying to get a few more memorable encounters under my belt before I leave. As you know, my blog updates are something of a rarity, however I did start up an Instagram account which I update pretty regularly, and you can always see what I've been up to at Cai Priestley Photography on Facebook.

Thanks again to everyone who's shown their support over the last year, and especially to those of you who ordered something during one of my recent print sales. I would've been back in the UK a couple of months ago if it wasn't for your help so I really appreciate it!

Here's hoping you all have a great 2016, and once again thanks for reading!


Friday, 2 January 2015

Top 12 of 2014

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you've all enjoyed yourselves over the holidays and that 2014 was as good to you as it was to me.

My last blog post was a whole year ago, and during that time a lot has changed.

For the third time in recent years, I've moved back to Banff in the Canadian Rockies. I arrived back here in September after my longest stint away since discovering this place back in 2008. To say I was homesick for this little mountain town would be an understatement.

Once again, I've selected what I think are twelve of my strongest images from the past year to share with you. I hope you enjoy them.

(click on an image to enlarge)

Atlantic Puffin with sandeels - Skomer, Wales
A dazed fox kit seconds after slipping headfirst into a puddle - Cardiff, Wales
Female Kingfisher with newt - Cardiff, Wales
Female Kestrel - Glamorgan Heritage Coast, Wales
Red Fox vixen - Cardiff, Wales
Little Owl - Glamorgan Heritage Coast, Wales
Sunrise at Vermilion Lakes - Banff National Park, Alberta
Cow Moose - Alberta, Canada
Bull Elk - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Bull Moose - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Canadian Lynx - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Black Wolf - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

If I had to pick a personal favourite from the year, it would have to be the portrait of the fox kit. Simply because it's been something I've wanted to see and photograph in my home town for so many years now, and it was a huge relief to finally get that shot before leaving the UK again. However, the best encounter of 2014 has to go to the lynx. After all, you can't beat two hours with a wild cat in the snow can you? The perfect way to end another great year.

Looking back at this selection, I feel incredibly lucky once again for all the amazing things I've seen and done over the last twelve months. I'm confident that this is some of my best work to date, and I'm excited to see what 2015 will bring.

Best of luck to you all in the new year, and thanks for reading!


Sunday, 5 January 2014

Top 12 of 2013

Ouch, it's been an entire year since my last blog post. Apologies!

Anyway, happy new year everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the festivities of Christmas and have all recovered fully from your NYE antics.

It's time to look back over the last year and share with you some of my favourite images from 2013.

It's been a slow year for me photography wise. I've been focusing mainly on saving up for some new gear in preparation for my return to Canada. Telephoto lenses can do some serious financial damage as most of you know, so I've been knuckling down to 61 hour weeks in call centre to try and hit my target! With only one day off a week, my wildlife encounters have been few and far between.

I started the year in Cambodia where I was visiting my mother on her travels. The main target for me during my visit was the critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphin. These relatives of the orca live in the Mekong river and in Cambodia their population is estimated at around 70 individuals. I spent five early mornings and late evenings out on a boat trying to photograph these odd looking dolphins. Unfortunately, they rarely ever spyhop or breach so capturing anything other than a dorsal fin was next to impossible. After nearly a week, I only came away with one image that I was happy with.

(click on an image to enlarge)

Irrawaddy Dolphin - Mekong river, Cambodia
Long-Tailed Macaque - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Praying Mantis - Kulen Hills, Cambodia
Tailed Green Jay - Bokor National Park, Cambodia
Angkor Sunset - Siem Reap, Cambodia

Since returning from Cambodia early last year, I've barely left the country. I did manage a few day trips within Wales though and had the opportunity to photograph some cool native species for the very first time.

Whilst hiking along the Wales Coast Path on the Gower Peninsula with my brother and some friends, we came across my very first adder. I've been wanting to see Britain's only venomous snake for years now so this encounter was truly special to me. Adders are usually seen on mountainsides, heathland or in woodland but this guy was curled up on a rock right on the edge of the clifftop enjoying the sea view. I didn't have my telephoto lens with me on this occasion so these were shot with my wide-angle.

European Adder - Gower Peninsula, Wales
European Adder - Gower Peninsula, Wales

I also made three separate trips to Skomer, an island off the Pembrokeshire coast which is home to thousands of seabirds including Atlantic puffins. I hadn't seen puffins since I was little so it was great to finally spend a few days with them once again.

I tried for some flight shots but failed miserably. The speed in which these tiny torpedos come at you is quite scary and my old Sigma lens was far too slow to keep up. Luckily the red campion was in full bloom on the island, creating the perfect backdrop for some portraits.

Atlantic Puffin - Skomer, Wales
Atlantic Puffin - Skomer, Wales
Atlantic Puffin - Skomer, Wales

And finally, a couple of shots from my favourite part of South Wales, the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. I tend to head down there on most of my days off, weather permitting of course. There are several amazing beaches which are great for landscape photography and it's a great place to look for owls and other birds of prey too.

6 Shot Nash Point Panorama - Glamorgan Heritage Coast, Wales

I had an amazing encounter with a little owl chick there back in the spring, one which still makes me laugh every time I think about it. This owlet was only a few weeks old and the look on it's face told me that it had never seen a human before. I returned to visit him and his sibling a few times throughout the spring/summer and was pleased to see them grow into proper little owls before fledging successfully to search for their own territories.

Little owl chick - Ogmore, Wales

So 2013 was a relatively slow year for me in terms of photography, but I'm still incredibly grateful for all that I've seen and done.

Now if all goes well with my visa application, I should be heading back to Banff sometime in the next few months. Wish me luck though, there's only 2000 visas left for 2014 and it's first come first serve!!

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Top 10 of 2012

Firstly, happy new year everyone! Once again, it's time to look back on some of the highlights of the last twelve months and to share a few of my favourite images with you from this past year.

It's been another great year for me with exciting wildlife encounters in several different countries. I've been lucky enough to have spent time in Canada, America, Sardinia, Sri Lanka, India and Cambodia, making 2012 one of my busiest travel years to date!

I spent the morning browsing through hundreds of photographs taken last year, and I've managed to whittle my favourites down to just ten images. These photographs bring back some amazing memories and I feel incredibly fortunate when I look back at what the year has held.

So here they are, my top 10 of 2012...

Red Fox - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Wild Boar Piglets - Sardinia, Italy
Common Kingfisher, Cardiff, Wales, UK
Wild Black Stallion - Alberta, Canada
Female Snowy Owl - Alberta, Canada
Red Fox - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Snow Pillows - Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
Sloth Bear - Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Common Garden Lizzard - Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Bull Bison - Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

I want to thank everyone for all of the support and encouragement that I've received throughout the year, it really means a lot. I hope that you've enjoyed the images that I've shared with you and hopefully 2013 will bring with it many more exciting opportunities.

If you haven't done so already, don't forget to check out my facebook page to keep up to date with recent news and info. I also have a couple of interesting magazine features coming out next year which I'll keep you posted on.

Feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me via my website if you have any questions.

Thanks for reading and all the best for the new year!


Friday, 5 October 2012

An Obsession With Owls

It's been a whopping seven months since my last post! After leaving Banff (again) back in March, I've struggled to find time to get out shooting, let alone blog about recent encounters. I thought I'd try and make up for lost time with a post about a new favorite subject of mine, owls.

I photographed my first ever owl in October of 2011, almost exactly one year ago today. I began looking for a Great Grey Owl out on the prairies near Cochrane, and eventually after three long drives I found one.

Since then, I've spent many hours looking for owls both in Canada and back here in the UK. This new obsession has grown stronger with each encounter, and now I'm lucky enough to have spent time with eight different species of owl!

These species include the Great Grey Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Snowy Owl, Barred Owl, Short-Eared Owl, Little Owl, Tawny Owl and Barn Owl.

So without further ado, here's a selection of photos to sum up a great year of unbaited, wild owl photography. Enjoy!

(click on an image to enlarge)

Great Grey Owl during autumn snowfall (October, 2011) Cochrane, Alberta, Canada

Great Grey Owl portrait (November, 2011) Cochrane, Alberta, Canada

Male Snowy Owl in strong wind (December, 2011) Alberta prairies, Canada

Male Snowy Owl in flight (December, 2011) Alberta prairies, Canada

Female Snowy Owl in her habitat (January, 2012) Alberta prairies, Canada

Female Snowy Owl in flight (December, 2011) Alberta prairies, Canada

Female Snowy Owl on Christmas Day (December, 2011) Alberta prairies, Canada

Northern Hawk Owl (January, 2012) Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Short-Eared Owl in flight (March, 2012) Aust Warth, England

Short-Eared Owl hunting near Severn Bridge (March, 2012) Aust Warth, England

Short-Eared Owl hunting (March, 2012) Aust Warth, England

Little Owl in nest hole (April, 2012) Cardiff, Wales

Little Owl chick taking a nap (June, 2012) Heritage Coast, Wales

Little Owl chick in stone wall (July, 2012) Heritage Coast, Wales

Tawny Owl chicks in woodland (May, 2012) Cardiff, Wales

I've just got back from a trip to Sri Lanka and India, and although it was more of a holiday than a photography trip, I've still got loads of photos to sort through. Hopefully I'll be able to get most of the keepers edited in the next week or two ready for another post, don't hold your breath though!

If you can't wait for this post, I've put a few shots from this recent trip on my facebook photo page here: Cai Priestley Photography

You can also message me via the photo page or website ( if you have any questions or if you're interested in ordering a print.

Thanks for reading!