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

Jun 22, 17     Comments (0)

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 (0)

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 (0)

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

Jun 19, 17     Comments (0)

Good morning, I have another wild looking deep-sea crab for you all this morning found by our favorite scientists from the world famous Smithsonian Institution in Washington. The red you see under the belly could be eggs but don’t quote me on that, I just remember hearing that in the lab as everyone was watching observing her. This crab was close to 6 inches wide and most likely even longer with those crazy claws extended. Most of you already know my love for any and all crabs which must come from the insane amount of hours spend either underwater or with the Smithsonian observing them, they are so cool and they come in every shape and size one can imagine.

Sorry so short, I’m so busy with so many weird things these days, have a great day out there..

Barry

Jun 16, 17     Comments (0)

Hi friends, I have one beautiful squirrelfish for you all today found on the last day of operations on our recent trip to St. Eustatius. This colorful little treasure was about three inches in length and I remember Smithsonian being super excited because of this strange color pattern you see above. These fish have such a wonderful relaxed disposition and like I said earlier this week spend their days from the safety of their homes watching the reef go by, they are for the most part very cautious fish.

Have a great weekend…

Barry

Jun 15, 17     Comments (0)

Good morning, sorry about the text this morning, I’m having a weird formatting issue making me hate Word Press even more at this point..
I have four beautiful deep-sea octopus for you this morning all found in the Caribbean, many found living in discarded bottles and all found by the Smithsonian Institution and Substation Curacao. Some of these are tiny and I guess they would have to be if they were living inside an bottle. Scientists from the Smithsonian now believe that these small octopus grab little hermit crabs and carry them back to their private bottle homes were they can eat without being disturbed that is unless a 2.5 million dollar submersible happens to pass by. Also many of these amazing creatures were found at or around the 850 foot mark so many of these you see here could be new species, we will again have to wait and see what the Smithsonian scientists come up with as far as DNA goes.
I am running late for a long mtb ride, talk to again soon…
Barry
Jun 14, 17     Comments (0)

I have a tiny one inch or less Varicus cephalocellatus, goby for you all today found by our world renowned scientists from the Smithsonian Institution using a deep sea submersible from Substation Curacao (yes where I used to work). For any ichthyologist finding these deep sea fish is about as good as it gets and from what I have observed working with the Smithsonian, finding new species of gobies is better than finding a ship full of gold! When these fish get brought up and are actually seen for the first time there is yelling and excitement in the air not to mention an occasional high-five for a job well done and for finding a possible new species of fish. I have to say, anyone who ever said “scientists are boring” hasn’t met the group from the Smithsonian Institution, they are anything but boring and when their not holding a fish they are out doing something else fun.

Have a great day..

Barry

Jun 12, 17     Comments (0)

Good morning out there, I hope you all had a great weekend and went out and did something fun.

I have a small, three inch Sargocentron sp. or squirrelfish for you today once again found on our last expedition to St. Eustatius, which is a super tiny island in the Caribbean. Remember we talked about the “sp.” which means “species’ meaning it may or may not be a new species from this family, we all have to sit tight and wait for a little DNA to come back before we all know for sure. Squirrelfish tend to spend their days hanging out in the shadows or under reef overhangs minding their own business and become more active at night. They feed on shrimps and crabs and tend to be in small groups and are for sure a very common reef-fish. I remember my wife’s sister coming down to Curacao one year for some diving and upon exiting the water she excitedly proclaimed “her hands down favorite fish she saw was the big eye squirrelfish”, I think that was the first time I ever remember anyone saying that was their favorite fish, I guess squirrelfish need love too!

Cheers..

Barry

Jun 9, 17     Comments Off on Deep-Sea Crabs, Deep-Sea Invertebrates, Crabs

Good morning, I have a cool little crab (about 2 inches wide) from the recent Statia expedition found with a deep-sea submersible by scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and Substation Curacao. Crabs are not always easy to photograph! This one here kept burying himself in the sand with just his or her eyes showing, so finally I gave up and covered the sand with shells giving this little guy no options other than to just sit there and smile for the camera. I’m guessing that this is some kind of swimming crab but again once I get a positive ID I will update these blogs.

Have a great day out there..

Barry

Jun 7, 17     Comments Off on Rison ruber, Odd Looking Fish, Small Deep-Sea Fish

Hi all, I believe this is a sponge loving goby of sorts and I’m working on more info for you, stay tuned…

Jun 6, 17     Comments Off on Sphoeroides dorsalis, Deep-Sea Puffers, Rare Fish

Hi friends, I have a little two inch Sphoeroides dorsalis for you all today which is super similar to the shallow water bandtail puffer that I have sent you all more than once. Unlike the bandtail this guy is found very deep, it’s smaller and is much more colorful than it’s shallow swimming cousin. The bandtails were also very grumpy and hated to be photographed much like this little treasure who was very uncooperative from the start making this photo super hard to take. This was once again found miles off the coast of St. Eustatius in the Caribbean by the Smithsonian Institution using a deep-sea submersible from Substation Curacao.

Sorry so short…

Barry

Jun 4, 17     Comments Off on STINAPA House Reef, St. Eustatius Underwater Photos

Good morning, I have a few underwater reef shots from a little island in the Caribbean that is currently not at the top of any “Top” dive destinations list, but maybe it should be! I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the underwater world in little o’l St. Eustatius and granted I didn’t get to dive a lot but what I saw made me wish I could have seen more. ALL diving on Statia must be done through one of the two or three dive shops, there are no exceptions to this rule, it’s for sure not Bonaire. Many of the reefs here are far off shore, we went to the “Valley of the Sponges” which was close to two miles straight out from the harbor and although your jumping off into rough seas the reef under was quite beautiful. Above are photos from the STINAPA house reef which is located in calmer waters and much closer to shore but again you will need to hire a dive operation to take you out there. Also like many other Caribbean countries you must purchase a $30 STINAPA reef tag before you dive as well which is available at the dive shops or the STINAPA office located near the harbor. I have to say this little dive spot had more creatures and fish, sponges and corals then I had seen on any dive site in Curacao, it was just a small reef area but completely packed with life meaning my camera was on fire and we were all out of air before we knew it!

Busy day ahead…

Barry

Jun 1, 17     Comments Off on Liopropoma mowbrayi, Cave Bass, Cave Basslet

Good morning, I’m having one of those can’t catch up, too much to do weeks and like always these blogs tend to suffer. If you ever see just a photo and no text like yesterday you know I am busy..

This is one of the many super small, colorful, deep-sea basses that high end aquarium collectors go crazy for, this one is called a cave bass or Liopropoma mowbrayi. When I say small, I’m talking around three inches in length and NO these are not babies or juveniles they are in fact full grown adults. These little sea-bass or basslets come in a wide range of beautiful colors and are very reclusive making them very hard to find. Like the full grown sea-bass they eat just about whatever they can find or catch like shrimps, crabs and smaller fish, they are truly amazing hunters! This was another in the long list of finds from St. Eustatius collected by the Smithsonian Institution using a deep-sea submersible from Substation Curacao.

I am sorry but I have to run, be back tomorrow…

Barry

May 31, 17     Comments Off on Tiny, Deep-Sea Gobies, Pinnichthys sp. Deep Goby

May 30, 17     Comments Off on RARE, Deep-Sea Scorpionfish, Scorpaena sp, Expeditions

Good morning out there, if your like us your recovering from a long but fun Memorial day weekend. We ate like kings, did a bunch of fun hikes with the dogs, went mountain biking with friends, roller-blading and on and on, wiped out!

I have a tiny inch and a half scorpionfish for you all today found by our science friends at  this little museum called the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, maybe you heard of it?? Over the years I have seen so many different species of rare, deep-sea scorpaena sp. come up from the deep and if you all remember one of these species was even named after yours truly, that little fish can be seen by clicking on the link found on the front of my home page. Scorpionfish for those of you new to this are “ambush hunters” meaning they find a place to hide and will lay there motionless for hours upon hours waiting for some poor little fish, shrimp or crab to pass by. Most scorpionfish also called rockfish blend in with their surroundings so well that even a diver can not see them mostly because they are covered in algae or change their colors to look like the surroundings, this one here on the other hand is about as bright as they come and apparently feels there’s no need to wear camo when out fishing. This was another amazing find from the deep-sea found by a submersible and collected by the Smithsonian off a little Caribbean island called St. Eustatius.

Have a wonderful day..

Barry

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