Avid outdoorsman and underwater photographer, Barry Brown has spent the last ten years documenting life above and below water in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. He is currently working with the Smithsonian Institution documenting new Caribbean deep-water species and building a one of a kind database. His underwater images can regularly be seen in Sport Diver, Scuba Diver and on the Ikelite website. His image of a "Collage of Corals" seen under blue-light at night recently placed in the TOP 10 images for the 2014 NANPA (North American Nature Photographers Association) photo contest.
Feb 5, 16 Comments (0)
Good morning all, what a week!! So much diving in freezing cold water, it really wears you out! Aimee and I have been packing like crazy to get ready for our Washington trip which is now only days away. We have a friend staying at our house and all the neighbors will be helping walk the dogs throughout the day, that alone is a big relief! I have been so busy this week that I wasn’t able to go biking at all but tomorrow morning I will be making up for lost time in the saddle and picking up a friend at 7:30.
I have a beautiful Blue Tang for you all today that I found swimming under a pier up against a beautiful sponge encrusted wall!
I have to be underwater AGAIN in 15 minutes, sorry but I have to run!!
Have a great weekend and I will try to post from Washington…
Feb 3, 16 Comments (0)
Well folks, I’m wiped out after another day of non-stop diving in freezing Caribbean water, I just want to go to bed!!! I still have my intern for one more day, we both did a long photo dive at 4:00 today and I had to exit early due to freezing hands, I hate this time of year for diving..
I have a little, very delicate Rose Lace coral for you all today that I shot in the mouth of a little cave on our Substation house reef. This hydrocoral form small colonies, with up to 7 cm high by 11 cm wide. If you look closely the polyps have an appearance of hair when extended, but because the corals are so small they are hard to see. The surface of the outer branches are covered with rows of small glasses, formed by surrounding food and stinging polyps. Occasional cups are also visible in the thick base of the branches. The polyps have an appearance of hair as when extended. Burgundy purple or lavender near the base, fading to pink and white towards the tips of the branches. Occasionally, all white.
These corals inhabit protected areas, areas of coral shade, often in caves or crevices, 6-30 m depth. They are found in Florida, Bahamas and the Caribbean waters, additionally it is common in the Abrolhos Archipelago.
They’re usually found hanging from a ledge of a cave or crevice. They can sting if rubbed against, but they are not considered toxic, or even deadly. The Stylaster roseus is a filter feeder like most other corals, and have a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae to provide you with the essential nutrients it needs.
Rose Lace Corals consist of a dominant polyp stage that usually has separate sexes for reproduction. The male and female are usually divided into colonies, and each colony produces or a sperm or an egg, which is eventually fertilized and developed into a new colony.
Another crazy busy day ahead, wish me luck…
Feb 2, 16 Comments (0)
Good morning all, I have a fun Lionfish portrait for you all today that I shot yesterday with my trusty 105 macro. We still see these beautiful invasive fish on every dive but on some reefs they are really doing a good job at keeping the numbers down. We ended up doing three dives yesterday, two of them were with my intern trying to teach him something about the difficulties of underwater photography, he’s finding out it’s not so easy….
Pretty much everything about the venomous lionfish—its red-and-white zebra stripes, long, showy pectoral fins, and generally cantankerous demeanor—says, “Don’t touch!”
The venom of the lionfish, delivered via an array of up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins, is purely defensive. It relies on camouflage and lightning-fast reflexes to capture prey, mainly fish and shrimp. A sting from a lionfish is extremely painful to humans and can cause nausea and breathing difficulties, but is rarely fatal.
Lionfish, also called turkey fish, dragon fish and scorpion fish, are native to the reefs and rocky crevices of the Indo-Pacific, although they’ve found their way to warm ocean habitats worldwide.
The largest of lionfish can grow to about 15 inches (0.4 meters) in length, but the average is closer to 1 foot (0.3 meters).
Lionfish are popular in some parts of the world as food, but are far more prized in the aquarium trade. Their population numbers are healthy and their distribution is growing, causing some concerned in the United States, where some feel the success of this non-indigenous species presents human and environmental dangers.
Lots to do….
Feb 2, 16 Comments (0)
Good morning friends, we are up at o-dark thirty trying to get ready for yet another very busy day.. Aimee and I leave for Washington this Sunday and I will try to post while I am at the Smithsonian so just hang in there if you don’t hear from us for awhile. Today we have two sub dives, the first starting at 9:00. I’m going to have my young intern shoot a go-pro movie of me photographing the sub today and I will try and post that as soon as I can.
I have a KILLER, ultra unusual orange sponge for you all today that we found years ago growing in a small cave. To this date this is the only one of these we have ever seen and we visit it on almost every dive. You can kind of get an idea of the size of the sponge by the little seven inch Cardinalfish above who we think has adopted the sponge and the cave as his own.
Sorry so short, I have to run..
Feb 1, 16 Comments (0)
Good evening all, what a crazy busy day!! So starting today I have an intern of sorts for just four days. They call it “work week” here in Curacao for the high school kids wanting to get a taste of one of the thousands of jobs to see if it’s something they would like to do more down the road. I have a 15 year old boy named Jur who is a diver and is learning what it takes to be an underwater photographer. On our 1st dive he got stung by a jellyfish (cured with warm water) and on the 2nd dive he struggled to dive and carry the giant camera, he found out right away it’s not as easy as it looks. I still have him for three more days so if you don’t hear from me you know why, we are just plain busy.
I have a wonderful little Yellowline Arrow Crab for you all today sitting on top of a sponge without a care in the World. These crabs are know for those beautiful purple claws, big eye’s and his super cool top-hat, such a fantastic creature….
The body of S. seticornis is triangular, and the rostrum is drawn out into a long point with serrate edges. The legs are also long and thin, up to 10 cm (3.9 in) across, and the animal’s carapace may be up to 6 cm (2.4 in) long. Coloration is variable in this species; the body may be golden, yellow or cream, marked with brown, black or iridescent-blue lines; the legs are reddish or yellow, and the claws are blue or violet.
S. seticornis is nocturnal and territorial. It eats small feather duster worms and other coral reef invertebrates. This crab is commonly kept in reef aquariums to control bristle worm populations.
S. seticornis is one of a number of different invertebrates that are found living in association with the sea anemone, Lebrunia danae. It is often found among the anemone’s pseudotentacles along with Pederson’s cleaning shrimp (Ancylomenes pedersoni) and the spotted cleaner shrimp (Periclimenes yucatanicus).
I had a busy weekend of mountain biking and hauling water out to the desert to water our baby agave plants, I so wish it would rain!!
Jan 29, 16 Comments (0)
Good morning out there, check out this outrageous Scorpionfish that we found on a night dive, he or she has the biggest lips I have ever seen on one of these fish, I think he could swallow just about anything! Besides the big mouth check out all the exotic plumage this fish has as well, it really helps him blend into the reef. These fish are so patient and will just sit there all day waiting for some poor unsuspecting prey to swim by.
Most species of scorpionfish are bottom-dwellers that feed on crustaceans and smaller fish. Many inhabit shallow waters, but a few live as deep as 2,200 m (7,200 ft). Most scorpionfish, such as the stonefish, wait in disguise for prey to pass them by before swallowing. Like many perciform fishes, scorpionfish are suction feeders that capture prey by rapidly projecting a suction field generated by expansion of the fish’s buccal cavity.
I have to get back out under the sea, have a wonderful day…
Jan 28, 16 Comments (0)
Good morning friends, Curacao is having some crazy high winds right now which is very unusual for this time of year. We also appear to be heading into another major drought, this could be the worst start of a year I have seen to date.
I have a very cute Balloonfish for you all today that I found at dusk heading out one night for a night dive.
Porcupinefish are medium- to large-sized fish, and are found in shallow temperate and tropical seas worldwide. A few species are found much further out from shore, wherein large schools of thousands of individuals can occur. They are generally slow.
Porcupinefish have the ability to inflate their bodies by swallowing water or air, thereby becoming rounder. This increase in size (almost double vertically) reduces the range of potential predators to those with much bigger mouths. A second defense mechanism is provided by the sharp spines, which radiate outwards when the fish is inflated.
Some species are poisonous, having a tetrodotoxin in their internal organs, such as the ovaries and liver. This neurotoxin is at least 1200 times more potent than cyanide. The poison is produced by several types of bacteria obtained from the fish’s diet. As a result of these three defenses, porcupinefish have few predators, although adults are sometimes preyed upon by sharks and killer whales. Juveniles are also preyed on by tuna and dolphins.
I have to get ready for a sub dive, see you soon…
Jan 27, 16 Comments Off on Three Colorful Red Shrimps, Cinetorhynchus manningi
Here are three beautiful Red Night Shrimp, Cinetorhynchus manningi that Aimee and I found together on our last night dive hanging out in the shallows on a big rock. They usually have red bodies and may have white to tan bands and spots with dark green eyes. These shrimps are very common in Curacao. They inhabit coral reefs or shallow rocky areas and are considered nocturnal. They hide deep in the reefs by day and appear in large numbers at night. When you shine your light on them their eyes turn to a glowing shade of red, it’s really beautiful! These shrimps like others are very shy and will retreat into the darkness if approached, so getting photos can be very difficult at times! Previously reported as Rhynchocinetes ringens, which has been reclassified in the genus Cinetorynchus. The species C. ringens only inhabits the Eastern Atlantic.
Lots to do, have a great day out there…
Jan 26, 16 Comments Off on Three Spotted Drums, Black and White Reef Fish
Good morning all, so what’s better than finding one Spotted Drum?? That’s right, finding two, and what’s better than finding two Spotted Drums, the answer would be finding THREE!!! Some of my underwater photo friends out there know not only how cool it is to find these fish in numbers but to have the chance to get them all in one photo, it just plain doesn’t happen every day!! These are for sure some of the coolest fish in the sea and for sure the most graceful and gentle. These odd shaped fish are normally found by themselves and tend to pick an area of the reef and stay there for an extended amount of time, they don’t seem to move around much. These cool fish are frequently observed during the day under ledges or near the opening of small caves, at depths between 3 and 30 metres (98 ft), where it swims in repetitive patterns. A nocturnal feeder, it leaves the protection of its daily shelter at night to feed mainly on small crustaceans and Polychaete worms.
I have to be underwater with the sub in 10 minutes, have a wonderful day all….
Jan 25, 16 Comments Off on Dog Wearing Dive Mask, Funny Dog Photos
Good morning friends, most of you know are dog Indi right??? She’s the one we found as a tiny puppy along the road and that almost died of parvo, now she’s the coolest Shepard mix you will ever see! Well she continues to amaze us on a daily basis with what she does or is capable of doing like this crazy funny photo that we shot at the beach last night!! Aimee has been working with her at home for the past few weeks with this mask and snorkel rewarding her along the way teaching her that putting up with us and our shananagans means a yummy snack is waiting at the end. I must say I was laughing so hard I could hardly take the photo, what a major trooper, we sure LOVE this dog!!
I finally got on my bike for a quick one hour ride on Sunday, that was the first time on my wheels in 3 weeks! I did the ride by mixing up a honey and water combo in my water-bottle to help fight any un-wanted coughing and that worked great!
So much to do, you can tell it’s Monday!!
Have a great week.
Jan 22, 16 Comments Off on Ikelite Underwater Housings, Female Silouette
Good morning friends, here’s Aimee posing with the newest Ikelite underwater housing. This is a sleeker, super sexy housing that just came out made for you folks that want to take your expensive camera in the pool, down to the waves or snorkeling, you are going to love it!! Not only is it lighter than the old underwater rig, it’s positive underwater and has a whole new dome port system for almost any lens, here is the link to get yours…
Aimee and I are still coughing and trying hard to get rid of our stupid colds but they are really hanging on for dear life!!
Have a wonderful weekend out there…
Jan 21, 16 Comments Off on Spotted Spiny Lobsters, Panulirus guttatus
Hello friends, it’s almost friday!! I wish I could say I had a fun weekend on tap but with this stupid cough it’s likely I will be stuck at home again. Aimee and I did carry a bunch of new Ikelite gear up the coast this morning followed by three dogs and finally got a few promotional shots for them that they can use for advertising. One of the cool new items is a completely new designed housing for my D-800 with white sides and new domes, they are promoting it as a shallow type of housing for taking photos in pools, waves, snorkeling and free diving, it’s only rated to 40 feet.
So I have two Spotted Spiny Lobsters, Panulirus guttatus for you all today that were found late at night crawling around searching for dinner. Lobsters are pretty shy and most of the time our lights scare them back into their caves but occasionally a few will hang out long enough for me to quickly take a photo like you see here.
Panulirus guttatus has a pair of compound eyes on flexible stalks, long thick spiny antennae, six pairs of small appendages around the mouth and five pairs of walking legs which are not tipped by large claws. The antennular plate bears two large, widely separated spines. The maximum length of this spiny lobster is about 20 cm (8 in) but a more normal length is 15 cm (6 in). The body color is purplish-black, heavily marked with conspicuous round white spots. The main leg segments are dark and spotted with white, but the penultimate leg segments have dark, longitudinal stripes on a pale background.
Panulirus guttatus breeds throughout the year. After mating, the female carries the eggs on her abdomen held under her tail. When ready to release the eggs, she migrates to the reef crest and their release is usually followed by moulting. The larvae have a very long developmental period and are planktonic at first, before becoming “pueruli” larvae, a transitional phase between planktonic larvae and benthic juveniles. They settle on the outermost shallow reef edges where there is vigorous water movement.
Have a wonderful day…
Jan 20, 16 Comments Off on Two Smooth Trunkfish, Lactophrys triqueter
Good morning amigo’s, how is your week treating you??? I’m still coughing and trying to get over this crazy bug but let me tell you, it’s really hanging on for dear life!! Our submersible just took off into the deep abis with two guests from the States and won’t be back for at least an hour giving me a little time to post a blog.
I have two cute as can be, fun loving Smooth Trunkfish for you all today that I found on a night dive chilling out inside a little sandy bottomed cave. Both of these odd shaped swimmers were around four inches in length and really didn’t move around much while I was photographing them. As you can see the water was crystal clear, in fact, it was crazy clear on this particular dive making my job a whole easier and much more fun. The smooth trunkfish is normally solitary but sometimes moves around in small groups. It uses its protuberant lips to expel a jet of water which disturbs the sandy seabed and reveals any shallowly buried benthic invertebrates. It feeds on small molluscs, polychaete worms, acorn worms, peanut worms, small crustaceans, sponges and tunicates.
Have a great day my friends, the sub is returning…
Jan 19, 16 Comments Off on Two Banded Butterflyfish, Chaetodon striatus
Good morning, we have an overcast day on tap and it looks like it wants to rain but I think it just forgot how. We continue to do our early morning “save the wildlife” by bringing in water and bird food every morning to our two big feeding areas out in the desert. This morning I brought home a very sad looking hermit crab in a broken shell, it’s one of the worst homes I have seen. I have him now in a big bucket with other new shells so he should figure that out soon and discard the old nasty one, I will then take him back to where we found him.
I have a pair of beautiful Banded Butterflyfish for you all today that were found parked up against a monster sized barrel sponge in around 70 feet of clear Caribbean H2O.
Banded butterflyfish adults are most often seen in male-female pairs and may be monogamous throughout life. Courtship between the two is drawn out and energetic; the fish circle each other, head to tail, then chase each other around the nearest coral reef, shooing away other fish that dare to approach. Spawning takes place at dusk as the female releases 3,000 to 4,000 small, pelagic eggs. The larvae , which hatch within a day, are characteristic only to the butterflyfish family, with the head encased in bony armor and bony plates extending backwards from their heads. The larvae are gray and almost transparent, useful adaptations for any species growing up in the water column. Butterflyfish spend weeks as pelagic larvae before undergoing final settlement to the reef and attaining juvenile coloration. Juveniles look different from adults; they have a large, ringed black spot at the base of their dorsal fins that acts as a false eye, confusing predators as to which end is the front of the fish. Juveniles may retain this spot up to a size of 5 centimeters, after which it begins to fade away. The overall body color of juveniles is brownish-yellow instead of white and may serve as camouflage, as banded butterflyfish juveniles often inhabit sea grass beds.
Have a great day out there….
Jan 18, 16 Comments Off on Caribbean Reef Octopus on a Gorgonian
Good morning friends, I have a beautiful juvenile Caribbean Reef Octopus for you all today that I found at night clinging to this little gorgonian, talk about picture perfect!! We are constantly amazed at the multitude of colors these animals can change to in a matter of seconds, here he or she is displaying a brilliant electric blue color that one has to see in person to believe it…
I am slowly getting better from this stupid flu and plan on diving today but Aimee is still sick as a dog. We both had a very quiet weekend at home doing almost nothing but sleeping and coughing so I unfortunately have nothing new to report.
Our island is drying up once again at an alarming rate due to very little rain fall, for the first time since we have been here we didn’t get our normal winter rains, this means more drought is ahead..
I hope you all had a great weekend, I have to get ready to dive.