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 March, 2010
Mar 31, 10 Comments Off on Yellow Tube Sponges, Captain Don’s Reef, Bonaire
Hello all it’s me again!! In case you haven’t noticed, reef scenes like this one here are one of my favorite things to shoot!! There’s just nothing like searching and combing the reef looking for that one sponge or that one coral head that stands out from the rest. Then once your in position and ready to take the photo have your dive buddy swim slowly overhead and presto you have the makings for a beautiful photo. This spectacular yellow tube sponge was found at Captain Don’s Reef on the island of Klein Bonaire. I think this was at around 65 feet it was just glowing on the reef and begged to have it’s picture taken. That’s Scott shooting video way up there and thanks to him and Tammi I got to go on this great dive! I remember looking down deeper like to 100 feet or so and seeing so many beautiful sponges down there but was unable to go after them, this would be a great spot for a deep dive. Soon after shooting this photo a beautiful little hawksbill turtle swam by and we noticed it had been caught and tagged, that was the first time I had seen that before.
Aimee went with our friends Sara and Ann today to a popular dive site called Puerto Mari. I think it’s safe to say they all had a wonderful day in the Caribbean sun and clear water. I worked but am still fighting this stupid cough, it’s really annoying!
That’s about it. still very hot and no rain! Be back tomorrow, Barry
Mar 30, 10 Comments Off on Mahogany Snappers at Red Beryl in Bonaire, Silver Fish
Hi friends, how was your day today?? I am still fighting some kind of bizarre bronchitis junk and went to the doctor this morning to get something for it. I have had this dumb dry cough for a week now and it is just driving me crazy!!
Today I did something I never do and took the dogs to the ocean in the middle of the day. We left the house at 11:30 in the heat of the morning and took off to play in the water and run thru the sand! The dogs had such a great time, the worst part of it was the drive there, that took 15 minutes in our no air conditioned car and the poor dogs were hot!! But the second we arrived they were out of the car and in the water and all was good in the world! We stayed out there for two hours walking along the waters edge at Saint Joris Bay, it was mega hot but who cared as long as there was cool water to play in!!
The rest of my day was spent indoors at the computer working on photos from the triathlon, will have many of those photos ready for sale in a few days for the local contestants.
Here’s another fun shot from Bonaire, this is my Mahogany Snapper Tree. Most fish seek shelter under some kind of big coral formation or gorgonians like you see here and like I have said before there is safety in numbers. This particular gorgonian was sitting very high above everything else around it, in fact it looked like a monument in the middle of the reef and the fish just seemed to love it. This is again the dive site called Red Beryl and is a must do if your on your way to Bonaire, it’s a great wide angle dive as you can see here!!
Very tired, time to take some cough medication and head to bed, see you tomorrow, Barry
Mar 29, 10 Comments Off on Web Burrfish Face, Eden Beach, Wannadive, Bonaire
Good evening readers or lookers of the blog!! Today at work all programs were cancelled because of huge waves rolling in and creating havoc along the coast! At 9:00 we tried to get customers in the water for a dolphin swim but it was not in the cards, it was just to rough and too much current! We have a big rock wall made out of these gigantic boulders that separate the dolphin lagoons from the sea but today waves were rolling over them and or smashing onto them creating a solid layer of sea foam throughout the whole lagoon, it was a mess! These are some of the bigger waves I have seen and I’m guessing this strong wind we are having is what is giving them the fuel! Crazy day!! I ended up leaving at 12:30.
The last few days have been Christmas in March for us, that’s why we love having guests arrive so much! First we had Tom who is the vet from Sea World in California, he brought us down a box of Highlander Groog and other fun stuff and is still our current house guest. Then our friends Sara and Ann just arrived from the States and brought us all kinds of goodies including two signed copies of Neal Larson’s new Ammonite book that is just too cool for words!! For those of you out there that always support my friends here is the link to order a copy for yourself, www.dakotanatureandart.com it’s 256 color pages of beautiful fossil specimens and even some of my squid and octopus shots, tell them I sent you. Also today I was met by a lady that arrived a week ago and is a friend of the daily blog. She had told me a month ago she was coming so I got her address and had a few things sent to her to bring down and today she delivered them, thanks again Judy!!
As promised a few weeks back here is a front face view of the puffed up Web Burrfish that we found in Bonaire at the famous Wannadive Eden Beach dive site. What cracked me up was his eyes, he was able to look at two different areas at one time! Here you can see he’s watching me but he also had his left eye on a diver that is just out of the picture to the right, cool trick huh?? I really don’t know why this guy was all puffed up we never messed with him at all, maybe other divers in past tried to catch him and hold him, it’s been know to happen.
Ok, it’s off to bed, Aimee said to say thanks to all of you that sent in notes of congratulations, it really means a whole lot! See you tomorrow, Barry
Mar 28, 10 Comments Off on Curacao Triathlon, Santa Cruz, Aimee Places Third
Good evening all, Aimee did great today!! She got third! The race started at 4:00 with a long swim consisting of two big loops out in the ocean. This was the event she dominated and she was the first woman out of the water and was the 16th person out right behind the pros, that girl can swim!! I was so proud I just wanted to give her a metal for that alone and go home but off she went for the next event. Once out of the water they quickly run to an area where their bikes are hanging, sit in a chair, rinse their feet, put their biking gear on and go!! So now it’s off to do a 12 mile ride in serious wind, hills and heat not to mention pot holes and crazy local drivers that reach out of their car windows and try to grab you, yeah ask her about that one!! As you see here she was one of the few athletes that had to ride a mountain bike, everyone else had the much faster road bikes and she lost time because of it, but she did great for what she had. If you look at her tires I took off the one’s used for the dirt and put on some smooth road tires and this did help a lot but still a big disadvantage. So after a long ride she then went back to the start, put her bike back up on the rack and this time put her running shoes on and off she went again. The run was around three miles and by the look on everyone’s faces it was tough especially in the heat! As she passed me running I yelled “you go girl” but all I really got back was a tongue sticking out at me and a look of why am I doing this?? Folks she did great, I am so proud of her!! We are off to celebrate with a yummy dinner at the Ribs Factory so I better get going!!
See you all tomorrow, Barry
Mar 27, 10 Comments Off on The Amazing Rocket Ride, Dolphin Show in Curacao
It’s a bird it’s a plane, it’s Super Aimee!! Man when was the last time I sent out a picture of Aimee doing a Rocket Ride?? Can anyone remember?? It would have been like five years ago!! When we first got here Aimee worked with me at Dolphin Academy and everyday she did these spectacular Rocket Rides. About a year later she changed positions and worked for another company still at the Sea Aquarium and still with dolphins but that was the end of the spectacular daily swan dives! Well she’s back!! Your going to have to ask her in person how she does this because I wouldn’t have a clue! I do know that she starts at one end of the lagoon with the dolphins pushing her by the feet. She then takes a deep breath and dives to the bottom of the lagoon floor with the dolphins still pushing her at full speed then disappears for a few seconds and presto she explodes out of the water flying high above the dolphins landing with a beautiful swan dive, the crowd goes wild!! The two dolphins are of course her favorites as well, Tela and her baby Pasku, Pasku doesn’t do any pushing he’s just along for the ride.
It was another scorching hot day in Curacao with no rain in site!! We are both off tomorrow, we leave here at 1:00 to head to the West end of the island for Aimee’s triathlon, should be great! Hope your all having a wonderful weekend, see ya, Barry
Mar 27, 10 Comments Off on Diving with Tammi at O’l Blue in Bonaire
Good morning from the Caribbean. Got busy again last night with other things and had no time for the internet. Yesterday at around 10:30 I did a fun sea lion dive out in the open ocean. I think Curacao is one of the only places that does this and let me tell you it’s very cool. They open a gate and a sea lion swims out and follows a trainer underwater to waiting divers way out on the reef. If you put your arms straight out with a flat hand the sea lion will then come over to you, pull up along side and let you pet him or her, it’s super fun. After the initial introduction you then swim with them to two different sand patches where we stopped and sat in the sand. We again put our arms out and one by the sea lion came to visit everyone and from what I noticed if your a good and gentle petter he came back to you more often. After the dive it was back to work and after work we raced downtown to get Aimee signed up for her triathlon on Sunday. At around 6:30 I took the dogs out to the desert along with as much water as I could carry and filled up my new bird water stations which seems to be a big hit!!
Remember yesterday I sent a photo of Scott shooting some video, well this is his wife Tammi hovering above a beautiful collection of gorgonians at O’l Blue in Bonaire. This dive site had so many beautiful little coral scenes like this one and I tried to shoot them all! Moments before we jumped in when we were still on shore a big pod of wild dolphins swam by, if only we could have been underwater to see that! When we first came to Curacao we bought all our dive gear from their dive shop in Rapid City and they still supply me with my hand held diving lights and clips for my fins, stop on in and check out all the goodies for yourself.
I need to get to work, talk to you tonight, Barry
Mar 25, 10 Comments Off on Diving with Scott and Tammi from Black Hills Scuba, SD
Good evening readers, not much for you all tonight as I didn’t really do much for once, not feeling real well. Aimee took the dogs to Saint Joris this morning for a long walk while I tried to lay back down and get some rest but I am one of those people who can’t sleep during the day. About the only thing I did today was to go with Aimee on a one hour bike ride on the road. It was a very easy ride but we wanted to do something as her race is coming up on Sunday.
Here’s yet another shot from Bonaire. This is our friend Scott from Rapid City, South Dakota shooting some video of a beautiful Azure Vase Sponge at O’l Blue. Scott and Tammi are the new owners of Black Hills Scuba www.blackhillsscuba.com and can get you guys certified to dive with me in just a few weeks, then you can head on down for some fun. Please stop in and tell Scott and Tammi I sent you and you would like to see some of that beautiful video he took while diving with me underwater. I told them they should put an add in the paper for all of you to go out and watch the video I think you would really enjoy it. And while on the diving subject you know how I am always talking about our favorite coffee (Highlander Groog) from Dark Canyon Coffee, well the owner Lori and her daughter are starting diving classes with Scott tomorrow and we hope to see them sometime soon after here in Curacao!! How cool is that, once you take the course once you won’t have to do it again, it’s money well spent.
It’s off to bed, no rain, just more heat!! I am diving with Sea Lions tomorrow morning out in the open ocean so I still need to get my gear ready. Bye guys, Barry
Mar 25, 10 Comments Off on Grooved Brain Coral at O’l Blue in Bonaire
Good morning all, there’s nothing like waking up to the best coffee on Earth, what would we do without our Highlander Groog, thanks Lori! I got caught up in watching a movie with Aimee last night and after I went straight to bed. Not feeling great today, maybe a bit worn out I have been doing quite a bit so maybe I will listen to the body today and rest. Yesterday morning we got our first taste of rain again but it was very short. Afterwards everything smelled so fresh and wonderful but it wasn’t enough to really water anything so I am hoping for a whole lot more.
Here’s a fun shot from a dive site in Bonaire called O’l Blue. This is a giant ball of Grooved Brain Coral living in just a few meters of water and was the only living coral in the area. When Omar went thru last year it wiped out just about everything in the shallows including sponges, gorgonians and corals but not this one, this baby must have a good hold! I shot this after the dive as we were on our way our out, that’s Sal on the left and Scott and Tammi on the right and I am sure they were asking each other “where is Barry”?? After shooting this I swam closer to really look at it and you could see tiny little secretary blennies in all the holes and other baby fish hiding around it’s base, this is really a very beautiful specimen. The last few weeks I have really been wishing I was back there diving and making photos, I feel like I just got started and had to leave, maybe Aimee and I can go back again soon.
Again sorry so late, have a great day, talk to you more this evening. Barry
Mar 23, 10 Comments Off on Two Banded Butterflyfish at Something Special, Bonaire
Hi Amigo’s, how was your day?? Mine again was go, go, go from the start and sitting here now is the most relaxing thing I have done all day!! I started out the morning by building water holes out in the desert for the animals. I did this by taking big plastic tubs and digging them into the soil so they sit at ground level. Then I placed flat rocks inside to hold them down and so whatever kind of animal enters it can also get out. Our animals and birds are really suffering right now from this crazy dry spell so just trying to do what little I can to help. After I did this project I built some tall bird baths from driftwood that stand about 6 feet tall and hauled them out to different spots along my trails. Moments after I filled up the saucers on top with water little birds from all over started to fly in and land and waited for me to leave, it was a great feeling of accomplishment. Today was mega hot, not a cloud in the sky and not a lot of wind, I had to take the dogs home early this morning because it was just too much for them. In between saving the Curacao wildlife, I worked on my long “Honey Do” list which included dropping off laundry, going shopping at three different grocery stores, the pet store and on and on, took three hours to get that stuff done and we don’t have air in the car! At 3:20 I took off back to the salt ponds on my bike to re-photograph the salty tire face from yesterday, this time I was able to shoot it without the big shadow on the big tire. It was a quick photo shoot as I had to be at a meeting at work at 4:00, and arrived there looking like I just walked out of the ocean with my clothes on, soaking wet from sweat! That’s my day in a nutshell, the days off sure go by fast.
Here’s a fun photo of two Banded Butterflyfish hiding in a giant Rore Pore Rope sponge at a dive site called “Something Special”. I went here with the Wannadive gang and Sal and Patty but instead of going to the normal spot we swam towards downtown to the left, something I have never done before. I think no matter where you dive in Bonaire your going to see something cool. These two banded beauties just sat there in this cool sponge frame, they never moved and could have cared less about me and my big camera, that’s my kind of fish!!
Aimee is cooking homemade red enchiladas with grilled chicken on top the smell is making me crazy! Talk to you tomorrow, Barry
Mar 22, 10 Comments Off on Sea Salt Crystals, Curacao Salt Pond, Salt Pans, Salt
Good evening one and all. I worked all day but had a fun little adventure to the salt ponds directly after work today. Yesterday when I did the loop around the salt pond on my bike I noticed these very cool tires encrusted in fresh salt crystals and knew I had to get back there tonight because if we get any rain at all they will be destroyed. Well for once I had some company, two of our new Dutch interns Loet and Laura really wanted to go as well so I had them meet me near the prison and off we went, me on my bike and them walking. After a fun and scenic hike along the waters edge which took around 15 minutes we finally arrived at the salt pans. One of the first things I found was this fun salty tire face that you see here made entirely of old tires encrusted in sea salt. Normally these tires are underwater but it’s so dry now that everything is starting to dry up. Once these tires or anything else that is in this water is exposed to air you immediately get salt crystals, look in front and around the big tire you can see thousands of little salt cubes forming under the water, it’s too cool for words. The girls and I raced all around for around 40 minutes finding one interesting thing after another to photograph, it’s just a perfect time to go there and you can even see around 100 or so flamingos as well. The downside is you have to get in the water to get most of the fun shots and this is 100% salt water and folks it burns your feet like you can’t imagine, it’s like acid! I made the mistake tonight of stepping in a very soft area and sunk in up to my knee, it was pure black smelly mud underneath the salt crystals and I raced back to my bike and grabbed my water bottles to rinse off with, really disgusting! So other than the smelly mud it was a lot of fun, I may try and go back Thursday evening as well for one last look.
That’s about it, we had a very windy, dry day and big waves smashed the coast all day. I’m out, till tomorrow, Barry
Mar 21, 10 Comments Off on White Spotted Octopus, Octopus macropus, Bonaire
Hi guys, how was the weekend?? Did you get a lot done or did you go to a movie and just relax? We have a friend staying with us at the moment who is from California named Tom. The first thing I did this morning was take him and the dogs to the cool bat caves at Koral Tabok where I finished hiding my new Geocache called Batman and Robin. While I worked on the Geocache Tom explored the cave and the surrounding area and the dogs stayed with me. After playing around there and getting a few new GPS coordinates off we went a bit further down the road and parked the car and set off on foot towards the ocean. The North coast of Curacao is getting heavily pounded at the moment with giant waves. We watched and watched as wave after wave rolled in and exploded onto the jagged limestone shoreline, it was unbelievable!! There was so much salt spray in the air that every minute you had to take your glasses off and clean them. The dogs had a great time running around but came back to me every once in a while for a much needed drink and like a good pet owner I carry lots of water for them. Once back home I submitted my new Geocache on-line and then spent the rest of the day working on the computer. At 4:30 I took off with a friend on a fun mountain bike ride around the salt pans, it was super windy but we both had a pretty good time.
This is a beautiful little baby White Spotted Octopus (Octopus macropus) that I again found at Eden beach in Bonaire on one of my night dives. This guy was in three feet of water and just laid there trying to not move and blend in and was changing colors the whole time. Bonaire is the only place I have seen these octopus, they are so diffeent than the other two we see all the time in Curacao.
That’s my day, we just had a great dinner of chicken on a stick on the grill, yummy!! Bye all, Barry
Mar 21, 10 Comments Off on Inca and Indi Find an Iguana, Curacao Wildlife
Late Good morning folks, I took my memory stick to work yesterday and last night I couldn’t find it?? For my old Dell it only will recognizes one old stick so if I loose it I am in big trouble.
This is Inca and Indi a few days ago with their new found friend a small Iguana. The Iguana really stood it’s ground and the dogs seemed to sense that this was his territory and after a quick sniff and a whip of the tail from the Iguana the dogs took off. The desert here is now painfully dry with animals really searching for water and food, you can see how skinny the Iguana looks and the plants look about the same.
Went on a quick bike ride last night with the dogs, we followed Aimee as she did a fast four mile run, that girl is in good shape. More later today, Barry
Mar 19, 10 Comments Off on Sneak Peek at the New Sport Diver Cover for May
Good evening all, I have something MEGA COOL for you all this evening, here’s a “sneak peek” at the new Sport Diver cover for May with my photo on the front! About a month and a half ago I got a note from the fine folks at Sport Diver asking for a specific photo which unfortunately I did not have. So the very next day I asked George if it would be possible to take our two dolphins Tela and Pasku (seen here) out into the open ocean for a photo-shoot and he said no problem. The next thing I needed was a model and Zenzi is about as good as they get and had worked with these two dolphins before on open ocean dives. The morning we shot this I really didn’t think we would get what we needed in one dive because usually it takes a few to get the perfect shot and if some of you remember I still had a very injured knee from my last bike wreck as well! To make matters worse, there was even a strong current so that really made things miserable for a one legged photographer but thanks to Zenzi and her dolphin training skills she was able to bring them to me. We were out there for around 15-20 minutes and most of the time we just watched as momma Tela and baby Pasku just did what dolphins do, they surfed the waves overhead, chased fish, and in general just had a great time. The photo you see here was one of the few times they both slowed down and swam quietly next to Zenzi, I love how baby Pasku is in his “safe zone” right under his momma, there’s no place like home! This is a great honor for us to have a photo on the cover of such a famous magazine as Sport Diver so PLEASE when it hits the racks next month please show some support for yours truly and the daily blog and buy a copy or two!! ALSO, this issue has something else super cool, read on and after click on the link below to read even more. The next issue of Sport Diver is headed your way with a really cool bonus. In the upper right corner of the May 2010 issue, you’ll see a multicolored box. It’s the new Microsoft Tag, a high-capacity color barcode that’s empowering us to augment the print magazine with digital content that’s not only entertaining and useful but €” more importantly €” immediate. You don’t need a computer or a webcam, just a Smartphone equipped with a camera €” (iPhone, iTouch or Android-based mobile phone to watch video content) €” and a finger to push the button http://www.sportdiver.com/article.jsp?ID=1000081613 On an ending note I just want to thank Carrie and Eric at Sport Diver for everything they have done for us again, we are very grateful and hope we can make it up to them sometime in the future!
It was another very hot and windy day here today, at one point some clouds rolled in and we all thought it would rain but it was not the case!! Have a wonderful weekend folks, Barry
Mar 18, 10 Comments Off on Geocaching in Curacao, Geocaching.com, Didy Man
What a fun day we had here today!! I was contacted a month ago by two people from the States named Bill and Joyce who wanted to go Geocaching and sight-seeing so today I met them at their cruise ship and off we went. The first stop we made was at my house to pick up two anxiously awaiting dogs then off we went to the trailhead behind the Curacao Sea Aquarium. These two are professional Geocachers, they have found or logged around 1800 caches and completely look the part with the walking sticks, backpacks, hats and the colorful shirts! The first cache we went to was called “World Cup View” and they found that with no problem at all, and then off to find “Slave Wall”. For those of you already confused asking “what is Geocaching”, it’s an online treasure hunt of sorts, all you need is a portable GPS device and a good pair of hiking boots. You find the hidden treasure or cache as they are called, open it up, log your visit, drop off a treasure or travel bug and off you go to find another it’s great! Check it out at www.geocaching.com So onto the rest of the story, the next stop was “Slave Wall”. Before we got to this cache the dogs raced to the ocean to go for a swim and cool off then we followed Bill and his GPS and again they easily found the next hidden loot. This brings us to the photo you see here, this is my happy hikers on my handmade Calabash trail I built two years ago on their way to find the Geocache called “Calabash”. Here we walked about a mile and then without two much trouble Bill again showed me how the big boys do it in Geocache land by finding the “Calabash” cache with no problem at all, I guess I need to hide them better? It was now around 11:00 and it was hot! We finished up with the Calabash and off we went heading back to the Slave Wall area except this time via a new trail. Once back to the ocean the dogs made a b-line straight to the water and in they went and this time I followed, it was hot! We got back to the car at around 11:30 went back home to wash the dogs then went to a nice little restaurant on the beach for lunch. About 30 minutes later we were joined by Aimee who had just returned from doing a practice round of her up-coming triathlon on the West end of the island. After lunch by request I took them to collect beach glass and after that we took off to the North coast. I drove them to the bat caves and there we hid or placed a new cache that they named Batman and Robin. This new cache is not yet registered on-line but will be within the week and it’s in a really great spot that Bill found. It was now around 3:00 and it was smoking hot and we all agreed that we should call it a day. So back to my house one more time, down-loaded all the photos I took of them and burned a DVD and off we went back to the Mega Pier to give them back to their waiting ship. It was a really fun day, I hope they are as tired as I am or I am really going to feel bad, I am wiped out!! Thanks again you two for joining me on a fun adventure hope to see you in California some time!!
That’s about it for my day, I am tired and a little sunburned, I shall be back tomorrow, see ya, Barry
Mar 17, 10 Comments Off on Jumping Dolphin, Dolphins Jumping, Dolphin Show
Good evening friends, it was another hot and dry day here in Curacao. For those of you having rain please feel free to send a little down here, in fact we can trade, you send us moisture and we can send you some warm sunshine!
Today at work we saw the craziest thing and I didn’t have a good lens to capture it. During a dolphin swim a big Blue Heron landed on our rocks and in seconds caught a giant yellow trumpetfish!! The trumpetfish was so big like two feet in length that the heron could hardly hold onto it with his mouth and he struggled to hold it for the next few minutes. The heron kind of just stood there thinking, ok, this is a big one, how do I eat it now?? Finally in one big swift movement he flipped the live flopping fish straight up in the air and down it went head first into the birds throat!! At first the heron just stood there with it’s neck fully extended because the fish was so long. Moments later you could see the fish still flopping around inside his neck and body, and then ever so slowly it went further down still moving in the belly, it was unreal!! Unfortunately we have these really cheap Sigma lens hooked to our nice Nikon D-90’s, it’s like a bumper sticker on a Lamborghini!
Here’s one of our beautiful dolphins flying high in the air during one of our daily Dolphin Academy dolphin shows. I think this is Kayena for those of you out there who know all the dolphins by name.
I have a bunch to do tonight, more tomorrow, Barry