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.
Archive for September, 2009
Sep 30, 09 Comments Off on Sponge Brittle Stars
Hey gang, how was your day today?? Sure is a lot of strange things going on in the world right now with the weather being at the top of the list! I guess for the most part that’s what’s nice about living here, it’s always the same weather just about every day of the year and hurricanes just go around us. Today was really windy which always means rough seas, the good side is no mosquitoes!! Aimee had the day off and spent most of it working on key-wording the photos I have ready to send to the States which will then be available for sale on our www.wildhorizons.com site, check it out.
Here’s something we see on every night dive but I never get tired of shooting it. This is a Azure Vase Sponge with a beautiful little Sponge Brittle Star hanging out on the side. These brittle stars spend all day out of site hiding from the fish who will eat them if given the chance. At night long after the fish have gone to bed they then slowly crawl up out of these sponges or from under coral heads and feed on algae or any other left over goodies they can find. Lights don’t seem to really bother these guys they just continue to go about their business knowing that as long as it’s night they are safe!!
Aimee is out walking the dogs again, she already took them for two hours this morning to the beach and yes they are two lucky dogs!! I had to take my rear bike rim into the Dasia doctor today, I need a new cog in the back, broken spokes and time for new liquid in the rear tire to help prevent flats. That’s about it, headed to a Photoshop party tonight so I better get moving. Later Gators, Barry
Sep 29, 09 Comments Off on Cowfish in Curacao
Good evening all. Found this cool Cowfish the other day and thought I would send him out for your viewing pleasure! And yes you read that right, this was taken during the day! Then why is the background black?? Good question glad you asked. If your shooting animals during the day underwater and you don’t like the background set your depth of field to a bigger number and turn up your flash and like magic you have a photo that looks like it was taken at night, cool huh?? These cowfish are so curious and like so many others can instantly change their colors, my favorite being electric blue!! I followed this guy for quite awhile and watched as he or she stopped at all kinds of assorted algae encrusted rocks and dined on whatever he could find.
Aimee and I both worked today, it was clear skies and very windy!! After work I met some friends and off we went for our weekly tuesday night ride. I was a bit tired still from yesterdays ride but ended up doing alright. Sorry so short, not much else going on. Be back tomorrow, Barry
Sep 28, 09 Comments Off on Another Dive to the Superior Producer, Curacao
Good evening from rainyville! We woke up this morning at around 4:00am to the sound of rain and at 1:30 in the afternoon it finally stopped!! The little frogs have been singing all day, the birds are loving the free bath and the green stuff is all blooming again, love that rain! Needless to say, rain means no walking the dogs and no diving but I did finally get all day to work on some new photos for the website!! After the rain stopped I made an attempt to get back to the driftwood projects but it was just to wet out still. Plus after each rain here we get these little snails that crawl out of nowhere so you have to be careful where you walk, I spent a bunch of time picking them up from the walk-ways and putting them somewhere safer. I did head out for an hour bike ride mostly on the road, went in search of hills to climb trying to get a good workout in a short amount of time.
Here’s another fun shot of Mark looking into one of the many old windows of the Superior Producer. I was inside one of the upper rooms while he swam out the door and posed for a nice picture, I can hardly wait to get back there! The sides of the walls are covered in different colors of encrusting sponges plus if you look carefully you can see a few giant clams stuck to the sides.
Looking forward to our newest guest arriving soon, I have the whole week off so we are going to be making some great photos! Hope everyone is doing well, thanks for the letters, miss you all as well, I’m out, Barry
Sep 27, 09 Comments Off on Yellow Trumpetfish, Curacao
It’s me again, boy did that Sunday go by fast or what?? After my long hike this morning with the dogs I started building some driftwood pieces. I have a few orders now which helps to motivate me in the right direction. Every single time we go the beach we cart wood home and just keep stacking it in piles, I really need to start getting this stuff turned into useable items. So I spent a good part of the afternoon creating a big towel holder which holds 5 towels and finally got a little more work done on the big table we have downstairs all made from wood from Saint Joris.
Someone asked me weeks ago for a Trumpetfish photo, I don’t even remember who now? I found this yellow beauty out on our reef a few days ago. These trumpetfish position themselves straight up and down and try to blend in with their surroundings but little does he know he’s bright yellow and stood out like a sore thumb! These guys are also incredible hunters, they just hover above unsuspecting smaller fish and wait for the perfect moment to strike and they are fast!
That’s it for tonight sorry nothing exciting!! Be back tomorrow, Bye Barry
Sep 27, 09 Comments Off on White Encrusting Zoanthids, Curacao
Morning everyone, Aimee and I went to the Ribs Factory right after work with friends so not much time last night for blogging. Not to much to tell you today, I spent yesterday at work again fighting off an in-coming sickness but I think I may have it beat. I took Zicam that my mom sent, Echinacea tea and some cold and flu tablets all as a first line of defense and so far I haven’t got sick.
Still having strange weather, it rained in the morning and was windy all day which caused very rough seas again.
For all of you who have been asking, the whale is doing great! He now follows the boat far out to sea and miles away each morning for his morning swim and then spends the rest of the day at Zanzibar Resort. Once the sea calms down a bit I will go with them and try to get a photo of him following the boat and him jumping out of the water, George and all the helpers have done an amazing job!!
Your photo today is something new again. These are called Zoanthids. Usually when you see them during the day they look like white lumps but at night they open up exposing their beautiful polyps! Look at the big white lump at the top of the photo, it’s closed so tightly you would never guess that’s going to open up into something so beautiful would you? I find these in the shallow water around the Elkhorn corals, it’s just another cool animal that most likely gets unnoticed by most divers.
That’s about it, thanks for the votes, taking the dogs on their morning adventure now to Saint Joris, have a great Sunday!! Barry
Sep 25, 09 Comments Off on Local Puppy “Raven” With Her New Parents
Hey gang, for weeks and weeks now we have been getting requests for a recent photo of baby Raven or as she is now called Faya. So tonight we finally met with her new parents Frank and Marja at Saint Joris right after work for a much overdo reunion! It was so great to finally get to see her again, we have been putting this meeting off for so long. Indi was a bit rough with her, Inca was Inca which means she really wasn’t that excited about the whole deal but hey that’s her loss! We did a long walk down to the point on Punta Mangusa where we took this photo with Aimee’s camera, I brought mine but forgot to put the card in?? So for all of you that have been asking how’s Raven doing, I think the photo speaks for itself, she is one lucky little puppy who has a great home. I told Frank tonight we will try hard and get the dogs together more on friday evenings it’s good bonding for them all.
For all of you who liked the Mating Squid photo I sent out a few weeks back you can now cast a vote on it if you are so inclined at www.underwaterphotography.com/photo-contest/Default.aspx?CT=10&ID=46709 This is one of the top underwater sites in the World and you the viewers can help be the judges, you can also click on underwater photo contest, then type in my name and it should come up as well. Many Thanks!!
Also it seems I get more people finding me on Facebook then any other place so here’s the link to that as well, www.facebook.com/home.php#/barry.b.brown?ref=name It’s been great hearing from old friends that I thought were gone forever, thus the magic of Facebook I guess? And again the few photos I have on Facebook are tiny for a reason. If I make them any bigger they can easily be copied and or become the property of Facebook that’s why I just made little thumbnails for you all, if you want to see the bigger ones check out our daily blog at www.coralreefphotos,com or www.wildhorizons.com
I am still trying to fight an in-coming sickness, I have a little sore throat now and had a pretty hard day at work. Have a great evening, thanks for your notes, Barry
Sep 24, 09 Comments Off on Pillar Coral Close-Up, Curacao
Hi my friends how is everything this fine evening?? I went to bed last night not feeling so well like a cold was coming on or something and then today was the same thing?? I did go with Aimee on a walk to the north coast with the dogs this morning but felt pretty run down the whole way. I pretty much just stayed home all day working on the computer and took a little nap but I still feel a little pre-sickness coming on? Aimee just took off for a night out with the girls and I am going to bed early with the dogs, so that’s our exciting day!!
Here’s something new for you, this is a close-up I took the other night of the side of a giant Pillar Coral! These are Stony corals, often called hard corals and are the basic building blocks of tropical coral reefs. These animals (polyps) secrete calcium carbonate to form hard cups called Corallites that provide protection for their soft delicate bodies. The yellow you see here is the calcium carbonate and all the little brown fingers with white tops are the animals or polyps, cool huh?? What’s really unique about this shot is that you can see some of the Corallites, normally with this pillar coral all you see are millions of polyps covering the whole structure.
I feel like I have a slight fever so I’m going to bed, talk to you tomorrow, Barry
Sep 23, 09 Comments Off on Curacao Culture Days
Good evening one and all. Curacao is celebrating it’s heritage and culture with a week of festivities so today all the locals dressed in appropriate clothing for the occasion. These are three of the very beautiful ladies I get to work with every day, from left to right, Kimberly, Maudiene, and Tibisaid. These girls are dressed in their native clothing from days gone by and are a true reflection of what wonderful colors and joyful spirits this island has to offer! Many of you who have been on the list a long time know by now that this country is famous for it’s award winning costumes! One of my favorite things about living here is getting to see things like this, not to mention being surrounded by lovely ladies every single day, they are as kind as they are beautiful and yet another reason for you to visit the Sea Aquarium on your next visit!!
Not much more for you tonight, I just got home and I think we are thinking about going out for dinner tonight, will be a nice change of pace. Keep those letters coming, Curacao regards, Barry
Sep 22, 09 Comments Off on Ragged Sea Hare, Curacao
Good evening friends, I found something new for you all, this is a Ragged Sea Hare. These cool creatures have been showing up everywhere around the shallow waters of the Aquarium lately!? They appear to be eating machines which is good news considering our lagoons have been filled with moss and sargassum from the lack of water flow. Everyone has been telling me about these things so today I finally jumped in to see what all the talk was about. Well just like they said, they were everywhere and in all colors including white ones! I picked one up today and held it in my hands, it felt like putting your hands in a bowl of Jell-O! They move pretty fast across the sand like big slugs and breath and poop out of these two holes on their backs, I must say they are pretty cool!
Well let’s see what did we do today in Curacao?? I took off to the ocean early for a dive before conditions got any worse. My goal again was to photograph the baby Elkhorn tiles that the scientists left and try and get some progress photos for them. I did have a little better success today, I found a really good one that had lots of new coral growth and worked on shooting that one and that one only for over an hour, topside conditions made this task very difficult. Once out I jumped in again in the shallows and played with the Ragged Sea Hares for about an hour, they were just to cool. I spent the rest of the day at the house working on the computer and at 5:00 left the house for an hour and forty five minute bike ride with the local group I ride with on tuesdays now. We rode about every trail we could find and some more than once and it never seems to get boring!
That’s about it, Aimee is making dinner the dogs are resting after their evening walk and I am still cooling down from a fast paced ride. Talk to you tomorrow, Barry
Sep 21, 09 Comments Off on Electric Blue Lettuce Sea Slug, Curacao
Hey gang, I found this really beautiful ultra blue Lettuce Sea Slug the other day and thought it would be perfect for a daily photo. These blue ones are very hard to find and this may be the most colorful one I have ever found. These slugs are only around two inches in length and are not poisonous at all. They can be found just about everywhere on the reef during the day or at night but seem to like the shallows the best. The ones we have all over the aquarium are white or green, I once saw a purple one but didn’t have a camera. It’s easy to see how they get their name, it really does look like a pile of blue lettuce!
After work today Aimee and I raced to Saint Joris with the dogs! I tell you it was great to not see that giant pile of trash that was at the waters edge for once, it was all cleaned up and taken away!! We had a very short but fun walk, it’s getting dark here now close to 6:30 making our evenings now very short.
We had a very rough ocean today!! Big waves smashed the coast all day and high wind, there would have been no way you could have dove here today!! It’s off to bed, see you tomorrow, Barry
Sep 20, 09 Comments Off on Mantis Shrimp, Curacao
Good evening all, did you have an enjoyable Sunday?? My day started with a dive in front of the Sea Aquarium. My plan was to photograph the Elkhorn Coral babies but big waves and strong surge put an end to that idea. I can now see that trying to keep a photographic record of their new growth is going to be very tough as they are in very shallow water and we always have waves, I need a new plan. While out there today I found this very cool Mantis Shrimp. Actually I already knew where he was as I found his home a few weeks ago on a night dive. These Mantis Shrimps burrow a deep hole in the sand and then cover the entrance with sand mixed with mucus. So today I knew the exact spot his hole was at and I gently blew the sand away from over his hole with my hand and let me tell you Mr. Mantis did not like that at all!! Immediately as you can see here he brought up a big clawful of sand that had just fallen in the hole and proceed to repair his entrance that I had just destroyed. I laid there and watched and within minutes his tube was completely sealed shut again, really an amazing creature. These guys normally hide just under their trap sand door and wait for a passing fish or crab and are super fast and very dangerous. I have read that many divers have had the tips of their fingers removed from their razor sharp scissor-like claws, you don’t want to mess with these guys.
I took the two lucky dogs to Saint Joris at 4:00 and we didn’t get home till 6:30. There was just a ton of cool stuff along the shores tonight because of this high tide and strong winds we are having, so I got to treasure hunt while the hound dogs chased each other and chewed on everything they could find.
Off to bed, talk to you tomorrow, Barry
Sep 20, 09 Comments Off on Baby Dolphin with her Mother, Curacao
Good morning readers, I got home late last night from a two hour bike ride and was wiped out, I figured why not just send this in the morning!! I worked all day yesterday but raced home at 4:30 and was on my way by 5:00. I started riding here on all the trails, then to the salt pans over the hill to Montana and then to Canoa via Saint Joris. It was a perfect night for riding Aimee even joined me near Saint Joris with her bike and the dogs, we didn’t get back to the car till after dark, that was a first. I didn’t get to see it but yesterday there was a major clean-up done at Saint Joris thanks in part to our friend Barbara Leigh. It’s people like Barbara that care enough about this country to just take matters into their own hands and get something done, one person can make a difference. For years our friend DJ and the kite surfers have been doing most of the clean-ups and once Dolphin Academy even went out there so thanks again everyone for all you hard work many of us really appreciate it!
We have a friend coming to stay with us from the Denver area next month her name is Eva. She will be here for about a week and is a diver as well. Aimee and I met Eva and her then boyfriend Mike in Bonaire on one of our few vacations together a few years back. I will take off a few days while she is here so we can get some great diving in and I have a new model to use underwater so be looking for those photos in the weeks to come.
Here’s an older photo of Tela and Pasku together. Pasku now has rake marks (teeth marks from his brother from playing) on the side and top of his head so no more photos of him for awhile. Dolphins use their mouths for everything and biting each other is very common and natural but looks terrible, they heal very quickly so I just need to wait. Pasku and Tikal are doing just amazing! Tikal is now out in the big lagoon with his mother and with his father Copan they are reunited and one big happy family!!
Well have a great Sunday morning, I am going diving, I want to try to find the Elkhorn babies and shoot them. Talk to you tonight, Barry
Sep 18, 09 Comments Off on Hidden Scorpionfish
Good evening friends, here’s yet another really hidden sea creature that I found on my last night dive in front of the Dive Bus. I was finished with my dive and on my way in when I found this eel sticking his head out of a little rock. I gently let my air out and just laid on the bottom which was covered in this green sea-weed stuff and focused on the eel. I have no idea how I first spotted this scorpionfish laying inches in front of me, maybe the light caught his eye just right because he never moved! If I would have moved up inches more to shoot the eel I would have laid right on this guy, scary huh?? I really had to look twice to see that there was something there and that my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me, talk about blending in with your environment!! Geez it’s unfair to the little fish!
Well Aimee has returned safe and sound!! She brought back so much fun stuff, it has been like Christmas for the past 24 hours!! So far the best gift has been the bags and bags of Highlander Groog we received as a gift from the best coffee roasting shop on planet Earth!! You guys have to try this stuff, tell Lori Barry sent you, here’s the link www.darkcanyon-coffee.com For Aimee and I each and every cup returns us to another time in our home town of Rapid City, South Dakota, it brings back such great memories, many thanks Lori!! I also got new cranks for my mountain bike thanks to good o’l eBay, a couple new jerseys and shorts, a mini hard drive that doesn’t work on my Mac but sold it to a friend today and other goodies that Aimee is for some reason still hiding from me?? It’s really great to have her home, she took the dogs for a fun walk tonight and for the first time in weeks I stayed home!
That’s about it guys, I still have a bunch to do this evening I will be back tomorrow!! Curacao regards, Barry
Sep 17, 09 Comments Off on Helicopter Diving in Curacao
Good day all! Well I’ve had a crazy fast paced day again. My day began with taking the dogs out for their morning tongue dragging session at 7:00 and by 8:00 it was so hot we were all racing back to the car! I was completely soaked from sweat and had to sit on a towel to get home, I really hate humidity! Once home I took off to do some shopping and pick up the laundry and then spent the next few hours cleaning up the house.
At noon I met Mark and his friend Jim at the World famous Dive Bus Hut www.the-dive-bus.com we loaded his truck with dive gear and put a bunch of light stuff in mine for after the dive. Mark and Jim drove to Blue Skies, home of the pretty blue helicopter you see flying every day all over Curacao and got ready to climb aboard. Yours truly went straight to the beach equipped with my mountain bike and all my camera gear. I had to ride the bike a ways to get to where the helicopter would meet me for this fun jump into the sea. Everything went pretty much as planned today, once I got my camera on the tripod and was in position I called George, (owner of Blue Skies) www.blueskieshelicopters.com and told him I was ready, we had already discussed exactly what we were going to do. It only took the helicopter a few minutes to get to where I was and just as planned he lined it up exactly how I had asked, talk about a great pilot!! George was flying and behind him was one of his helpers sitting in the middle of Mark and Jim. Once in position the divers carefully got up from their seats, climbed out onto the skids, gave each other the ok and out they went. The guy sitting in the back seat was holding both divers hands and when the ok was given he is the one that lets them go. The divers have their fins connected to their BC’s and their hands are over their masks, it looks like fun huh?? After the divers were safely floating the helicopter left and seconds later with an ok signal from mark they both disappeared underneath the aqua blue waves. I loaded up all my gear jumped on the bike and headed back down the beach to where I picked them up one hour later. So after returning them to Blue Skies where they left their truck I drove back to the Dive Bus, unloaded the wet dive gear and tanks and took off home. The first thing I had to do when I got home was wash my bike, it got a lot of salt water on it this morning! This whole event today was compliments of Niels Jorissen www.divechartercuracao.com We needed some new shots for an article that will be in an up an coming diving magazine, I will get you more info on that soon.
I need to get moving, I have to get to the airport and see if there is a lost woman from the States walking around with a ton of luggage and is in need of a ride?? Wish me luck! Barry
Sep 16, 09 Comments Off on Variegated Urchin in Curacao
Good evening friends, what’s happening?? I took the day off because my finger was pretty swollen still and Inca was acting strange?? I took her out to the trails so many times to try and get her to do her business but nothing each time and then she would look at me and slink back to the car acting like she had just been beat? Finally at 5:30 tonight she finally decided she had to go and did go but is still acting weird, will be glad when Aimee gets here!! So we didn’t do any kind of walk or hike today neither one of them seemed to excited about it. I spent most of the getting ready for a helicopter photo shoot that we are going to do tomorrow at around 12:30. Sport Diver magazine is doing an article on helicopter diving and needs a specific shot so tomorrow with the help of Mark again and one of his friends we are going to give it a try over by the Marriott.
I was a good boy today and cleaned up the house before Aimee’s arrival! Geez after sweeping the whole house it’s amazing how much hair Indi looses?? It looked like a baby kitten in the dust-pan today! We are still expecting Aimee to arrive tomorrow night but I haven’t heard from her in the past 24 hours so not sure if there is a new plan or not?
Mark called me today and said on their night-dive last night around 7:00 they saw the brittle stars spawning!! I can’t believe I missed that?? I have all my gear in the car now and am running down to Pier Baai to do a night dive to see if there is still spawning tonight, it’s worth a try hurt finger or not!
Your photo this evening is a close-up shot of our local Variegated Urchins that we have everywhere on the reef. These are one of the few urchins that you can handle, you can carefully pick them up and they will crawl around on your hand, it feels really cool!
That’s it, glad everyone liked today’s photo so much love the compliments! Bye now, Barry