ABOUT

Avid outdoorsman and underwater photographer, Barry Brown has spent the last 12 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.

General

Aug 16, 17     Comments (0)

Aug 15, 17     Comments (0)

Good morning readers, sorry for the lack of blogs but I have more or less run out of fish and creatures from our Statia 2017 Expedition and have been working on a bunch of coral reef photos from the reefs of St. Eustatius that I will begin posting. Above is my last two deep-sea hermit crabs that were found and collected below 700 feet! For a size reference the top crab is around two inches wide while the bottom hermit is much smaller and both have the glowing blue-eyes which blow me away!! The larger crab had small little anemones all over his shell which are almost impossible to see from these tiny web sized photos. The shell he or she was in looked like it was covered in sand and the anemones were just living under it or stuck to it, you can’t even see the original shell anymore, he may have been hauling that around for awhile! These blue-eyed hermits are truly amazing, you just wouldn’t ever think a crab would have such beautiful eyes!!

Be safe out there, between the weather and the crazy drivers it’s amazing any of us make it home some days!

Barry

Aug 4, 17     Comments (0)

Good morning out there, while in St. Eustatius I had a major meltdown one evening when I went to download my 64gb CF card with all the days or weeks photos and found out the card was not working or corrupt, meaning everything I had shot including the above shots were lost until now. I tried onboard the ship to download a rescue pro service from Sandisk and was able to get a few shots off the card but not many. So last week I took the card to a friend who has the latest in card rescue technologies and was able to save 61gb of lost photos, for those of you who don’t know, that’s an insane amount of images! So here’s a few more shots of the new Derilissus sp. or Clingfish that was found by the Smithsonian Institution and Substation Curacao off the coast of St. Eustatius earlier this year. The crazy thing for me is the size of the fish, it was so small that you couldn’t see with the naked eye the beautiful colors on this fish, it was only after being shot with a 105 macro lens that we were able to see those insane eyes! This fish is only about a quarter of an inch in length, get a ruler, that’s small!

Hope you all are well….

Barry

Jul 18, 17     Comments Off on Derilissus sp. Clingfish, Tiny Reef fish, Deep-Sea Fish

Good morning, I have the third and final Derilissus sp. (clingfish) for you all this morning that the Smithsonian Institution and Substation Curacao crew recently discovered off the tiny coast of St. Eustatius. For those of you wanting to learn more about these beautiful little fish here’s a little more information about clingfish in general.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gobiesocidae

When we saw this fish for the fist time it was so small/tiny that we couldn’t see how beautiful those eyes were. It wasn’t until I shot it with the 105 macro lens on f40 with two Ikelite sub strobes that the revelation of this little fish came to light and I remember almost loosing my mind and yelling for everyone to come over and look at this fish! Upon seeing some of my first shots I remember also having this large group of people now surrounding me wanting to see more close-ups, it’s truly a fish that everyone has fallen in love with!

Have a great day out there..

Barry

Jul 18, 17     Comments Off on Endangered Corals, Endangered Staghorn Coral, Corals

Here’s one very healthy colony of super endangered staghorn coral for you all today straight from the reefs of Bonaire. If you look closely at the two fish in the middle of the photo the little greyish blue damselfish is chasing away a much larger stoplight parrotfish that has ventured into his nesting/living area. I have written for years what aggressive little fish these are and apparently they fear nothing, I have seen them chase off everyone including divers.

Have to run..

Barry

Jul 13, 17     Comments Off on The Rare Blue Beads of St. Eustatius, Slave Beads, Rare Beads


Hi friends, while in St. Eustatius a while back shooting photos for the Smithsonian Institution I discovered a story of the islands history that few know involving these elusive five-sided, very hard to find blue beads once worn by slaves. My little adventure began onboard the Chapman research vessel with the arrival of some local divers all having at least one big blue bead hanging proudly from their necks. We immediately asked “what’s the story with your beads”? They then told us a story similar to the below article I found in Sport Diver that went something like this…

St. Eustatius or Statia once known as the trading center of the world, used to attract thousands of merchant ships to it’s shores each year. In the 17th and 18th centuries Dutch merchants brought unique pentagonal blue glass beads from Amsterdam to Statia’s marketplace. These blue beads were used to acquire slaves from western Africa who then later used the blue beads as currency on the island, and even sometimes to buy their freedom.

Strangely enough, these same blue beads now beckon divers, not to Statia’s markets but to its surrounding waters. Legend has it that after emancipation slaves threw their blue beads into the sea to celebrate their freedom. Another theory says a ship carrying beads sank or was sunk by the slaves sending the precious blue beads to their watery grave. Divers say that at the blue bead dive site (hole), one doesn’t find a bead but instead it finds or chooses you and once found you belong to Statia and are destined to return again and again.

Over the next few weeks I ended up getting off the ship and going to shore in hopes of finding one of these precious blue beads washed ashore, as we were told this is how many are found. I walked and walked the volcanic sandy beaches and even did some snorkeling in the shallows but never found one, most likely because most of them are found after a storm with big waves, and all we had was calm water the whole time. There is a dive spot called the “blue bead hole”, but I never got out there; they claim this was where a ship went down and many beads were lost. As I walked around town I started noticing many of the locals had a blue bead around their necks that they had found, and I managed to get some of the above shots on my walk. The last photo shows a collection of ancient glass beads that can be seen in the local museum but are different than the ever sought after five-sided blue-beads that everyone is hunting for. For those of you treasure hunters, if you thought hunting for gold was addictive spend a few days looking for these amazing beads, it will drive you crazy!

I do have a four page article that really explains these beads even more. If anyone is interested, just let me know, and I will send it to you.

Have a great day…

Barry

 

Jul 12, 17     Comments Off on Giant Hermit Crab Inside a Disscarded Queen Conch Shell

Good morning folks, sorry for the lack of postings lately I am once again working on more projects than I care to take on giving me zero time to jump on the computer. I am trying to get all my St. Eustatius photos like this giant hermit crab I posted today ready for key-wording and sent off to be copy-righted at the US copyright office, a process that takes forever.. At some point the Smithsonian will be needing these photos for talks and publications so me having them done ahead of time will be a big bonus.

This is another crab from our last trip, this time a giant hermit crab in a discarded queen conch shell which was most likely killed and eaten by a passing octopus at one time or another. The shell this guy or gal is living in is close to 10 inches in length giving you a little idea of the crabs size, I truly do love these hermits!

Have a wonderful day..

Barry

Jul 6, 17     Comments Off on Pleurotomariidae, Slit-Shells, Rarest Sea Shells, Shells

Good morning friends, I once again have some beautiful live slit-shells for you all today that were found deep off the coast of St. Eustatius with the use of a submersible.

Jul 3, 17     Comments Off on TIME Magazine, Baby Dolphin, Most Popular Dolphin Photos

Good morning gang, I trust you either had a great weekend or your still on an extended weekend because of the 4th, either way be safe out there with all the visiting tourists. I’ve been doing a bit of riding but not as much as I should be, I’m currently helping a friend re-do her bathroom at the moment hanging sheet-rock which seems to be consuming a lot of my time.

Good news again, I have a full page dolphin photo in TIME Magazine this month in their Special Edition “The Animal Mind” oh yeah, page 67…..

Sorry so short, I have to meet a friend for an early mtb ride, have a wonderful day!!

Barry

Jun 29, 17     Comments Off on Four Deep-Sea Invertebrates from St. Eustatius

I’m back, I have four more invertebrates found with a deep-sea submersible from the island of St. Eustatius in the Caribbean. The top photo is some kind of weird anemone sitting on top of a rare slit-shell, below that is a cool looking deep-sea shrimp, then a big starfish that I had never seen before and finally a super tiny, smaller than a dime hermit crab from way down stairs.. I decided to toss all these into one blog because of my need to be finished with photos from Statia although I still have a ton of underwater reef shots and all the SIRENAS sponge photos to show you, this could take a long, long time!

Last week I sent in my poor regulators for repair only to get a return note saying your regs are toast! I then proceeded to explain the amount of diving I do and how may dives I had done with them which is in the thousands so now they understand why they look like that.

I have a full page dolphin photo in the new TIME special edition that is out now on page 67, I think the book is called the animal mind or understanding animals, check it out if your at a news stand.

I have to run, I am so busy these days..

Barry

Jun 28, 17     Comments Off on Decodon sp. Orange Reef Fish, Small Deep-Sea Fish

Good morning, I have another super colorful three inch Decodon for you all this morning, this is one of the three that was found on the St. Eustatius Expedition last month. A Decodon is a type of wrasse and this particular species is one of my favorite to work with because of their super calm behavior and their more or less relaxed attitude. I think I have told you over the years that not all fish are easy to photograph, some can take me hours to get a shot of as they never stop moving unlike this orange beauty that just sat in one place posing forever! I was going through my St. Eustatius folder yesterday and I see that I am close to having posted most of the top finds from that trip, so I will try and finish that up by the end of next week and then we head back to Bonaire.

Hope all of you are doing well out there…

Barry

Jun 27, 17     Comments Off on Palatogobius grandoculus, Deep-Sea Gobies, Tiny Fish

Good morning out there, sorry for the no-blogs the past few days have been doing a bit of traveling and in doing so met some of the greatest folks in the world! Someone had asked me the other day about our three island dogs and how they are doing and other than a little hip problem with Inca they are all doing great, especially Joy!

I have another super tiny fish for you all today called a Palatogobius grandoculus or for those of us not in the science world, a goby! This was yet another tiny little thing about an inch in length covered in bright neon stripes and a wild looking neon yellow eye, this is such a cool little creature! Many of these tiny gobies will perch themselves on top of an object and sit there motionless for a long period of time giving your truly plenty of time to take a few shots. I am close to getting all the finds posted from our last trip to the Caribbean with the Smithsonian, I have about 10 left then I will start on the trip before that to Bonaire, so trust me there is no end to my photos..

Be safe out there, see you tomorrow…

Barry

Jun 22, 17     Comments Off on Brotula Barbata, Reclusive Reef Fish, Odd Loooking Fish

Hi everyone, I have an odd looking fish for you today called a Brotula Barbata found deep off the coast of St. Eustatius by the Smithsonian and Substation Curacao. I know it’s hard to tell from the photo but this fish is only around five inches in length. These weird looking fish swim non-stop in an eel-like fashion making them very hard to photograph so what I had to do was to make a cave of sorts (which they love) for him or her to swim into and stop swimming long enough for a shot, I guess it worked! I don’t know a lot about these fish or the depth we found it but I will try and get this info soon and update this and all the rest of the posts.

Be safe out there… Please put the phone down while driving, I was almost in a wreck yesterday from someone texting..

Barry

Jun 21, 17     Comments Off on Valley of the Sponges Dive Site, St. Eustatius

Good morning, I’m finally getting around to actual dive photos I took on my last trip to the Caribbean, here’s a little window into a dive-site called “Valley of the Sponges”. The morning we did this dive a small boat came from shore over to our ship and picked me and two other Smithsonian friends up and off we went for a three hour, two tank dive. Because St. Eustatius is one big volcano we had to go almost two miles offshore to get to this dive-site, it’s for sure the furthest I have ever been from any given shore. I remember we were already soaked before we even got to the drop-site because of high winds, big waves and a tiny boat, good thing I had already put on my wetsuit. Once we arrived we wasted no time getting in, especially after that crazy ride, we all knew it would be nice and calm underwater and raced to jump in. I had two science people with and they both took off in different directions in search of something different and I went in search of beautiful reef scenes. These kind of dive trips are hard for me because I know I will most likely not be back and I try as hard as I can to cover as much reef as possible in a one hour time period. On my way down from the boat I can usually see my first objects to shoot and from there I race around like a crazy person trying to take as many photos as I can in this short period of time, it actually should be an Olympic event. This particular dive-site was littered with my favorite giant red barrel sponges and they were in every shape and color, I was honestly going crazy trying to figure out how can I shoot them all! I did end up with a great collection of photos, one of my favorites is the top one with the corals growing inside the barrel sponge, this would be a rare sight in Curacao but here I found this fairly common, maybe they know they are more protected in there?? Any ways, if you are visiting the island of St. Eustatius have your dive operator take you here, it’s truly a unique dive-site with lots of sponges, sea-fans and barracuda’s.

Off to start the day..

Barry

Jun 20, 17     Comments Off on Deep-Sea Nudibranch, Tiny Invertebrates, Sea Slugs

Good morning out there, I have something a bit different for you all this morning, something other than a crab or fish for once.. This is a super tiny, very fragile deep-sea nudibranch, one of only two we found on the whole trip to St. Eustatius. And when I say one of two, that means we found this one above and another that is completely different which I will get posted as well in the coming days. Nudibranch’s are a type of sea-slug with bodies that are so delicate and move slower than about anything in the sea. This one here was about 12.5mm or half an inch in length, I actually remember it being even smaller as it was so hard to photograph. With all the diving I have done in Curacao over the years I never found many nudibranch’s other than the common lettuce sea-slugs that covered the reef in the shallows, so these are pretty special. This was another find by the Smithsonian scientists and Substation Curacao and if I get a name I will update this so check back often.

Have a wonderful day…

Barry

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