Night Photography

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been trying my hand at photographing different night-time “phenomena.” There have been several events/activities that were very interesting — here are a few of the better photos of each of these events.

The Moon

When you think of night photography, this is probably the first object which comes to mind. It is readily available for (almost) anyone to shoot — I’ve taken pictures of the moon on several different occasions; however, I really like it when the moon is setting … Here are some of my favorite:


Here’s another one people think of … this is kind of a cheat … not really (completely) night yet … but getting close! Some of the sunsets have been spectacular … hard to capture … but I tried! lol.

Aurora Borealis

This one is tough — because what you can photograph and what you can see are two different things. There are so many vibrant colors in the photograph …. what you usually see (here in Kelowna) are whites, yellows, and maybe a little red/yellow.

Noctilucent Clouds …

Who knew this was a thing? These are the highest clouds in the atmosphere …Typically formed from ice crystals.

Neowise Comet

We were in the right place at the right time to see this one. Glad to capture a couple of photos.

The Southern Cross / Stars

The hardest photos to take … still working on my Milky Way pictures. haha. Captured the Southern Cross in New Zealand.

City Lights at Night

Was able to capture a few good ones here … see what you think!

I hope you enjoy the photos!


Hello! Recognizing that I would be staying local this year I decided to try and have a BC Birding Big Year! I set my goal at 190 birds for the province. Since there are ~260 breeding birds that can be seen in BC without having to spend too much money for weird locations, I thought 190 was doable. Also, since I live in the Okanagan Valley (Kelowna), there is a great opportunity to see ~200 birds here … again, if the conditions and timing are right.

The year started off very well, and through the end of July, I’m up to 129 birds. I think I can hit my goal if three things happen: 1) I can make a trip to the Lower Mainland (near Vancouver), 2) I make a trip to Eastern BC (in the Kootenays), and 3) I collect a few more Alpine birds overall.

Here are five of my favorite birds so far this year … The first is this Nashville Warbler.

Nashville Warbler

This is a first time bird for me — we were hiking on the High Rim Trail near Lake Country, BC … we heard several of them calling and were finally able to see it well enough to snap a few pictures. Lovely.

Red-eyed Vireo

This was another new bird for me. We were camping near Mabel Lake earlier this summer and had stopped at a small recreation area — Shuswap Falls Recreation Site. There were quite a variety of birds here — this was one of a pair … lovely.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

I was happy to see this little fellow — also near the High Rim Trail. He was in full mating display and it was easy to see his crest. I was happy he sat still for the minute or so I needed to focus. lol.


This was also a new bird for me — a Veery. Very similar in call and appearance as a Thrush. Beautiful vocalization — photographed along McCulloch Road leaving Kelowna. I found it funny that it was standing on one leg.

Northern Waterthrush

The final bird was another new one for me! The Northern Waterthrush. I almost confused it with a juvenile Robin, but that yellow color was too vibrant to ignore. A beautiful bird and very curious. We saw this near Browne Lake to the east of Kelowna.

Such a wonderful variety of birds … I’ve been very fortunate to add around 5 new birds to my “life list” pushing my total numbers up to 1,105. We’ll see how it goes the rest of the year!



A Birding Big Year

If you were not aware, I’ve been an active birdwatcher since about 1972. We had a close friend of the family who had a love of birds, a great spotting scope, and the desire to go out and chase the birds. I’ve been on-again off-again pretty serious through the years leading to the point to where my “life list” is standing at 666 different species.

Carolina Chickadee (Mineola, Texas)

We traveled to Belize last December and started actively tracking our bird-watching numbers. So, for a Big Year, I started my “reckoning” on 1 December 2017. At last count, we were up to 369 different species (so far) this year with another couple of big outings planned before 1 December 2018.

Lark Sparrow (Mineola, Texas, 2018)

Great Egret with Perch (Mineola, Texas, 2018)

Great Egret with Perch (Mineola, Texas, 2018)

With that being said, I’ve adjusted my goals for this year — first, I want to obtain 1,000 birds on my life-list. I never thought I would make it that far but stints in Europe, Africa, Central America, and South Africa with my work allowed me to add birds to my list of which I had only dreamed. Secondly, I want to bust the “500 species” list for our big year! It will take some effort but I think we will get it. I will be blogging about it here.

Yellow-headed Blackbird (Kelowna, BC)



Golden Eagle (Kelowna, BC)


Western Meadowlark (Kelowna, BC)






California Quail (Kelowna, BC)


Lewis Woodpecker (Okanagan Falls, BC)

Say’s Phoebe (Kelowna, BC)

Evening Grosbeak (Kelowna, BC)

Finally, I also restarted my count from 1 January 2018 to have a “valid” Big Year. That number stands at 220 species — we’ll see if I can extend this out to 500 birds too.

Guianan Trogon (Belize)

Blue-crowned Motmot (Belize)

Amazon Kingfisher (Belize)

Collared Aracari (Belize)

Central American Pygmy Owl (Belize)

White-necked Puffbird (Belize)




Lesson’s Motmot (Belize)

Keel-billed Toucan (Belize)



Happy, happy birding all!

Stumbling Piper

I always include Iron Man as part of my Jamestober celebration


… simply because we both had our beginnings in 1963 (he’s older … March … haha).  I started my Iron Man comic collection in the late 1970’s and have trying to gather as many as I can through the years … it’s quite the collection; just not complete.  Oh well … that’s the fun of collecting, right?






For as long as I can remember now I’ve been celebrating the month of October as “Jamestober.”  I see (on instagram) that other people had this same idea.  Since my birthday is smack dab in the middle of the month I figured why not celebrate all month long!  As part of the celebration, I’ve been posting picIMG_20181017_153203451tures to instagram everyday.  I will now start posting them here …  beginning with yesterday’s post.  I went for my first MTB ride as a 55-year-old.  It felt just like when I was 54.  haha.


4I remember back several years ago (try 20 or so) I had a webpage (stumblingpiper.com)

As the Internet grew in capabilities I moved away from building my own page and used new sites as they became available … myspace then facebook, etc.  Instagram is my latest.  However, I think I’m going back to the future and putting my stuff in a “blog” again.  This way I can control the content of what my family, friends, and acquaintances see without being afflicted with what those other sites want me to see/do/etc.

Let’s see if I have the discipline and energy to do this.  I’ve had several sputtering starts and stops in the past … but there’s always next time! 🙂


Hiking Skaha Bluffs


Incredible fall colors today hiking at Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park.  Want to come back and bring my Mountain Bike for the other trails.

What the?!?!

You may find this funny, but I love Baroque Churches.  I’ve spent some time in Germany (recently, actually) and I will be posting some random images out here of some of my favorite trips/churches/ happenings /etc.  This will be an eclectic mix … but that’s who I am … so … as Paul Harvey used to say “stand by for news.”


Oh, this is a depiction of the Day of Pentecost with the Holy Spirit falling on the chosen … yeah.

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