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

Archive for September, 2010

Sep 29, 10     Comments Off on Baby Hemit Crab in a Cerion Shell, Beehive Shell

Hey guys, tonight we have a very tiny Hermit Crab for your viewing pleasure. I found this youngster on the trail the other night and for once I was carrying the right lens! What’s unique about this other than it’s a cute little baby Hermit Crab is that he is using an empty Cerion Shell or as they are called here “Infant-in-Arms Shells”. Cerion is a genus of small to medium-sized tropical air-breathing land snails, terrestrial pulmonate gastopods in the family Cerionidae, sometimes known as the peanut snails. This is a highly diverse genus, with more than 600 described species. The genus is endemic to the Caribbean region. The name Cerion is based on the Greek word Kerion, signifying honeycomb, and is given to these shells because the form of the shell resembles that of a Beehive; hence they were at once time known as Beehive Shells. The locals say it’s form/shape resembles or looks like a small baby wrapped in cloth, I think I will go with the Beehive Shell name myself, I am not seeing the baby? These shells liter the island and in some spots it looks like snow on the ground because of the large quantities of dead ones. Obviously they make perfect “starter homes” for baby crabs of all kinds and the shells are very tough! This shell here is less than half an inch in length, cool huh?
 
Aimee had the day off and I worked. She got the ball rolling on getting the car fixed and I did three dives with the sub, all of them different and unique. So that’s about it for tonight, all is good!
 
Be back tomorrow, Barry
 
Sep 28, 10     Comments Off on Colorful Insects, Caribbean Insects, Mating Bugs

Good evening from Curacao! Here is another first for Aimee and I, something we have never seen here before. These are two small very colorful bugs in the family Hemiptera.  t. that we found mating the other night while out walking the dogs. These beautiful little bugs were very small, around 1/4th of an inch to be exact and were very hard to photograph as they never once stopped moving even though they were joined together. I always tell friends back home that other than the stupid mosquitoes we just don’t seem to have many insects here or at least one never sees them! I always search hard for little creatures with my macro lens but I always seem to come up empty handed, I think it’s because most insects hide under a leaf and are never out on top. Anyways, very cool and very colorful, I love it all!
 
I had a full day at the Substation and ended up doing two pretty long dives. Our friend Tone from the Avila Hotel was our guest this morning along with her co-workers. Upon entering the sea we discovered the current was not only going at a fast speed it was also going the wrong ways! So after shooting the sub and it’s passengers I found myself a long, long ways away from where I needed to be and started the long swim back against the current! Good thing I was wearing my new fins from Black Hills Scuba! When I was home Scott and Tami set me up with these new semi-stiff state of the art fins and they worked great today! My second dive today was similar to the first except this time the current had changed directions and so I had to put it into overdrive to get back, talk about a good workout!
 
The car is still running but Aimee will go to the insurance company first thing in the morning to get the ball rolling to get it repaired, I will keep you informed.
 
Off to bed, nice hearing from everyone, Barry
Sep 27, 10     Comments Off on Caribbean Butterflies, Curacao Butterfly, Hanno Blue

Good evening friends how was your Monday? Ours was great but as we were leaving the Sea Aquarium parking lot we had our first Curacao car accident! Listen to this. Aimee and I had just turned out of our parking lot and we were on our way home following behind a big white Toyota 4X4. Well there was a green “TAXI Van” letting folks off in the left lane and as the white truck passed the TAXI honked his horn at him and the white truck immediately stopped right in the middle of the road! Now remember this is kind of our rush hour as everyone is leaving work and there were at least 3-4 cars behind us. Not only did the white truck stop he started backing up so he could talk to his friend and he never stopped even though I sounded the horn, he plowed right into us and destroyed the front end of our car! What a stupid idiot! No words can even begin to tell you how disappointed we are, in cases like this there is just nothing you can do. The sad thing is from the looks of our car it looks like we ran into someone making us look like bad drivers. When road services came he tried to tell the officer that it’s our fault and we should watch where he is going?? Say What? I was so glad my mother was not around to hear what I had to tell him about his poor driving skills and trying to blame us well that’s just plain messed up! So now begins the long haul of going to insurance companies and trying to get our poor little car fixed, it won’t be easy because our Toyota is from Holland and that’s the only place you can get parts for it! Good times!
 
Tonight’s photo is for both my Nancy’s, one in South Dakota and one in Wyoming and they both love butterflies! This butterfly is called a Hanno Blue (Hemiargus hanno). As you can see it is very small about the size of a dime and has beautiful lavender wings in the inside, still working on that shot. Some friends of ours Bill and Christine reported seeing a very rare and colorful butterfly months ago out on the trails and they said they could get very close, it was fluorescent green and black, I would love to see that one! I did photograph some beautiful beetles last night mating, I will send that tomorrow, it’s really cool!
 
That’s it, I am trying to calm down after the wild evening we just had! Thanks for all the letters, Barry
Sep 26, 10     Comments Off on Tropical Downpour, Flooding, Curacao Weather

Hi friends, this is for those of you out there who thought I was exaggerating about the amount of rain we are getting! This is our back porch/door area and how it looked yesterday afternoon! The area with the river flowing thru it is or was our nice white gravel walkway that leads out to the beautiful backyard which was turned into a swimming pool! I was looking all over for something to float on, that would have made a much better photo but couldn’t find anything. The wall I was talking about is in the very back behind that small palm tree, that’s where the water was so deep and was flooding everything. Today was calm and HOT! When the sun finally comes out here after a big rain it is so HUMID! You can hardly breath and you walk around soaked from sweat, I think I took 25 showers today! This morning I went in search of butterflies and only was able to photograph one species, the others never stopped fluttering! The dogs and I hiked for close to two hours until I was completely soaked and just couldn’t take it any more!
 
Hey I forgot to ask, I am wondering if there is anyone you know that has never put a seatbelt on before? Weird Question you ask? Well, why must we sit thru lesson after lesson when boarding a plane of how to put our seat belts on, I mean we got it already, this is stuff we all learned when we were two? I think when we check in they need to have a little “seatbelt stamp” that is put on your boarding pass which allows you to not have to listen to that whole routine time after time. For those who don’t get a seatbelt stamp they all go into a separate room in the lobby 5 minutes before boarding for their live one on one demonstration, what do you think? After sending out my last note a few days ago about my return trip I received a whole lot of mail from everyone. One person asked me on Facebook, “what is the number one thing I hate about flying”? Well that’s an easy one. The hands down most frightening and terrifying thing is when you just board, find your seat, put your carry-on away and then sit down in an empty row of seats! Now you look over the seats and see a long line of people all headed your way like big cows in a corral, it’s a lottery of the worst kind! I start biting my nails and sweating as the mothers with screaming kids get closer and closer or the oversized man with his half eaten pizza! Most of you know this feeling and what I am talking about, I always see one or two attractive woman and start praying that they sit next to me but so far it has never happened! I did however have a nice gentleman from Rapid City to Chicago this time, he was a breath of fresh air and we talked the whole way. But usually I get stuck with the worst of the worst! One time I sat next a guy who had the worst body odor and talked to himself the whole way, I had thought about hanging myself in the bathroom but couldn’t find any rope! On that flight I did ask a stewardess if I could sit somewhere else but she said the plane was full so I ended up just standing near the bathroom or sitting in the bathroom almost the whole flight, it was awful! Isn’t traveling great!
 
Anyways, it’s off to bed, I hope you all had a great weekend, be back tomorrow, Barry
 
Sep 26, 10     Comments Off on Orange Cup Coral, Stony Corals, Dendrophyllidae

Good morning friends and readers of the blog, how is everyone this fine Sunday? I am ever so slowly unpacking and going thru all this stuff I brought back which means the house is currently trashed. Yesterday was my first real walk with the dogs since I have been back and other than being very humid and hot it was great. The vegetation here is growing so fast from all this rain and the island is so green, I will be very busy with trimming in the weeks to come. One of our big Peacock flower bushes in the back yard fell over from all the moisture! During yesterdays downpour I opened the back door and took a photo of the river going by our house, it was insane! After it stopped we had close to 12 inches of standing water out back along our wall which was flooding everything. I had remembered seeing a drain-hole in the wall and felt around underwater in search for it. I did find it but it had a giant rock blocking the passage which after some work it finally came out and the water was finally able to drain! After that I started trimming the giant fallen bush which was a very difficult task because of all the thorns this plant has! Once trimmed I was then able to push the big trunk of the tree upright and back into position and this time I put big rocks under it and around it to help give it strength for the next time.
 
This is called Orange Cup Coral, one of the hands down most beautiful corals we have on the island. Orange Cup Corals are believed to be the only species of stony coral introduced to the Western Atlantic. The species was first recorded in 1943 from Puerto Rico and Curacao. Interestingly some specimens collected in the Netherlands Antilles between 1948-1950 came from a ships hull. Since that period the species abundance at these localities has been increasing. During the day this coral is very plain and just looks like an orange bumpy mass but at night the show the begins! The beautiful polyps open once the sun goes down and generally feed most of the night on passing planktons and seem to be more active on nights with current and murky water.
 
The dogs are waiting to go, see you tomorrow, Barry
Sep 25, 10     Comments Off on Acmon Blue, Lupine Blue, Small Colorful Butterflies

Good morning friends. It has been raining in Curacao for the past week and still hasn’t stopped! When I flew in I was able to see just how much rain the island had received from the air, it was green and there were standing pools of water everywhere. Yesterday it poured and poured, last night it rained again and their are storms on the horizon. This morning I went out to feed the birds and saw that our big Peacock flower bush fell over sometime last night from all the rain, I will try and get that re-planted somehow today. So much for any riding, the trails are soaked and there are mud puddles everywhere, I think our rainy season is a bit early this year!
 
For those of you who curious enough to want to know what I did on vacation or to see the photos you missed go www.coralreefphotos.com  And because I did a blog almost every day while in the States I won’t be talking much about the trip other than to say thanks again to everyone for everything!!  It was so great to see some of our friends again. I did spend much of my time away from Rapid City so I did not have much time to see everyone or if I went by they were not home which was the case with many.
 
While in Wyoming my fascination for butterflies grew and while out fossil collecting I would stop what I was doing and start chasing them. This is a common but beautiful Acmon Blue or Lupine Blue Butterfly sucking the last bit of juice out of the last open flowers of the season. Fall was just starting when I left and the nights were getting cold, I have no idea how these fragile creatures survive the long cold nights that dipped into the 30’s? During the days it warmed up and some days it was just plain hot and I saw many different butterflies but trying to get close enough to photograph them was a horse of a different color. What I found that worked for me was to crawl on the ground, that was the only way I could get close enough. If I tried to stand or bend down they took off every time but the lower I got it seemed to work better, I recommend you getting an elbow pad, that would have helped me a lot! I remember a few days when the wind was blowing so hard. The butterflies land in the wind on a moving flower and trying to focus is close to impossible, thank goodness for automatic focus and a good flash!
 
Not sure where I can take the dogs this morning, it is a mess out there!! I better go, be back tomorrow, Barry
Sep 23, 10     Comments Off on Velvet Shrimp, Caribbean Crustaceans, Curacao

Hi guys, I am back!! As of this minute I have gone for 37 hours without sleeping, a new record! My flight back was again just plain crazy! I said good-bye to Nancy at the Rapid City airport at around 8:30 Wednesday morning and then proceeded to go thru this insane maze of security! You know the routine, shoes and sweater off, watches, coins, belts, phones, keys and everything in your pockets has to be emptied out and don’t forget to set your laptop in a separate tub all by itself, what a hassle! Then you walk thru the “Tunnel of Doom” holding your breath and praying that you make it thru without being “strip-searched” although I have heard some are going thru just for that treatment which I still think is free! I was carrying all my underwater equipment in my carry-on and you can just guess how that went over? The second that bag went thru red lights went on and everything stopped! Who’s bag is this I heard from behind the counter. I wanted to point to the guy next to me but he had enough problems of his own. So like a child who thinks he’s in trouble I spoke up and said mine. What is all this stuff they asked and for the next 10 minutes I explained while they unloaded everything out of my carefully packed bag and put it all into separate tubs and ran it thru again just to be sure it was safe. Just for the record it is way harder to get thru security in Rapid City than any place in Miami or Chicago! I had a nice flight to Chicago but the second I got off and walked into the Chicago terminal it was like waking up on the streets of New York City at rush hour!! I couldn’t believe how many people were pushing their way to gate to gate and everyone was in such a hurry! I stood there for a second and just watched and in those brief moments saw a tall colored man from another country carrying his luggage on his head, yes balanced right on top, then I saw two cops escorting a criminal in handcuffs and watched a woman loose her mind because she lost her favorite ring! The lady was making so much noise that many of us just stopped what we were doing and had to find out how this turns out. We watched as the lady took off at high speed back onto the plane but while she was gone her husband found the ring in his carry-on and then was trying to find her to tell her the good news! She returned moments later and he held up the ring, upon spotting it she raced over and gave him a big hug and everyone clapped! Since I was in no rush I slowly walked to the food court area which was more like a feed lot for cattle, I have never seen so many food places all in one area, that was really crazy! I ended up joining the mess and bought a small pizza and joined the herd for lunch in a field of tables. As I dined I watched a cleaning lady slowly clean an area with four phone booth stations at the speed of a snail, talk about milking the o’l clock, it would have been great video! My next flight was to Miami and it also went very well. I arrived into Miami at around 9:00 in the evening and the first thing I did was collect all my luggage again and this included a big box with a bike as well. The next challenge was to get the bike and three other bags on this one little cart, it was close to impossible but I did it! To my horror I was unable to check those bags back in until morning so I found a chair in front of the American Airlines terminal and camped out for the whole night right there. For the next 12 hours I rarely heard one word of English spoken??? I really thought I was in Mexico at times but after asking a Starbucks employee they assured me I was still in the States, you could have fooled me! Throughout the night of trying to sleep while sitting in a chair multiple police officers came to check out the contents of my box and they even brought drug sniffing dogs to double check later on in the evening when they thought I was asleep! That big box was really drawing some major un-wanted attention! During the long night I occasionally had to go the bathroom and had to load everything on the cart once again and take it with me, this really got old fast! I was impressed that Miami has the cleanest bathrooms of anywhere I had been and it was a pleasure using their facilities! I couldn’t even count how many sick people I saw in the two days of travel, it’s no wonder everyone is ill! As I was getting ready to leave Miami the alarms started to go off and an automated voice came on to say; “May we have your attention” The alarm that has been activated is being investigated by the Fire department, please be seated and wait for instruction! That’s real comforting! Then on the plane to Curacao the Captain came on and said, “Everyone please be seated and buckle your seatbelts, we are in for rough weather ahead and it’s going to rough! He could have said it a bit calmer, upon hearing that everyone looked out their windows and braced for the worst which thankfully never happened! So thank God I am home safe and sound, it was great seeing Aimee and the dogs, I missed them a whole lot!
 
Here’s a new find, this is called a Velvet Shrimp, we found him on the last night dive in front of the Sea Aquarium, he was beautiful and so see-thru!
 
Dinner is ready and then it’s off to bed, see you tomorrow, Barry
 
Sep 22, 10     Comments Off on Magnificent Feather Duster, Tube Worms

Good morning friends, I am getting e-mail after e-mail asking “where are my daily blogs”? This once again proves that most people just look at the photo (which is fine) and do not read the text! I told everyone over and over before I left that during my vacation I would be posting everything here. Also someone asked how do you find a certain photo that was sent out weeks or months before? Just type in a word like “Mini Sub” in the small Search box (on the right side) and you should be able to find what your looking for. I have to be at the airport in 2 hours and I think Aimee is already in the air, she arrives home a day before I do. Yesterday was again spent with last minute shopping. It’s a great time of the year to find shorts and flip-flops on sale so I loaded up! I think I bought 3 pairs of beach shoes, bought 5 watches for friends, 4 pairs of reading glasses, a few little flash-lights, a big package of zip-ties, and lots of biking stuff, all stuff that would cost a fortune to buy in Curacao. The weather here has been great! I am planning on being back in April again to do some Sage Grouse” photography in Wyoming and to try and renew my South Dakota drivers licence. Well, that’s about it from me, I am on the way back to the Caribbean, there will be no blog posted tomorrow morning, maybe Thursday evening if our Internet is working? A BIG THANKS to everyone who made our trip so wonderful and again I am sorry if we did not get together, just too much to do!

This one is my mom who loves these Magnificent Feather Dusters.  This one belive it or not has been living in the end of this metal pipe since we first came to Curacao and everytime I swim by I take a photo. For those of you wanting to see this yourself it’s near the Tugboat at Caracasbaai along side one of the underwater concreate pillars, you can’t miss it. These feather dusters feed all day on plankton that passes by and with all those arms they have it’s fairly easy, Aimee and I just love watching them.

I will miss you all, we have the greatest friends in South Dakota! See ya, Barry

Sep 21, 10     Comments Off on Creole Wrasse Cleaning Station, Juvenile Hogfish

Hi friends, this is my last day in South Dakota and then it’s back to the Caribbean! Aimee is spending the day today with her family in New Mexico and then tomorrow at O-Dark-Thirty will leave for Curacao! I had a very busy day yesterday with last minute errends and packing up another mountain bike that I am hauling back, that should be interesting! Nancy and I went in search of butterflies yesterday and ended up finding around 8 different ones although trying to shoot them was a horse of a different color. I did find that laying on the ground and slowly crawling towards them was more effective than standing up although it kills the elbows, will have to find an elbow pad today.

I appologize to those of you that I have not gotten to see, there is just not enough time! Today I have one final list to complete before heading out myself tomorrow morning including finding a new watch that broke yesterday!

Here is another Creole Wrasse Cleaning Staion. Look carefully and I made a little yellow arrow and it points to a small Juvenile Hogfish who is very busy cleaning the gills of a lucky Creole Wrasse! Without these little cleaning fish we would have a lot of sick and un-healthy fish swimming around, they do so much for the environment! As you can see fish line up in schools to get cleaned and will wait as long as they can for their number to be called.

Time to go, see you again soon, have a wonderful day, Barry

Sep 20, 10     Comments Off on Juvenile Goldentail Moray eel, Caribbean eel’s

Hello everyone, I take Aimee to the Airport in just a few short hours, she first will fly to New Mexico for a day and then straight to Curacao, I will be 2 days behind. Our time here has been great and we once again realized what wonderful friends we have and how much we will miss them. Yesterday we went with our buddy Leon and Dan to ride a part of the famous Centennial Trail. The temperature was again close to 70, it could not have been better. We started at Pactola Lake at the trail head called Deer Creek and rode close to Pilot Knob, I think it was 7 miles one way. This is without a doubt one of the most fun sections for biking in the hills that you will find. The trail is very clean and inviting and has tons of down-hill, remember whatever you ride up you will be coming back on later at full speed, it was great! Being crazy boys we usually got to each stopping point before Aimee but it was great getting to see her yell in delight as she flew by us, this trail rocks! This was my 5th ride in 3 days and and my legs finally said NO MORE after trying to chase speedy Leon up-hill, I really was tired but had a blast on the down-hills riding with Aimee part of the time. After the ride we drove into Rapid City again and got cleaned up for an early dinner with our friends Art and Barb who treated us to dinner at Outback Steakhouse, it was incredible!

Here’s a little Juvenile Goldentail Moray eel that my friend Rob found a few weeks back at Vaersenbaai. Most eels just hang their heads out of a coral hole during the day and at night will feed. I remember this little guy being very curious and completly unafraid so we both just laid on the sand and watched him for a few minutes.

Sorry so short, we have to get Aimee ready to go, it’s back to the Dolphins for her and our two waiting dogs. See you tomorrow, Barry

Sep 19, 10     Comments Off on Secretary Blenny, Small/Tiny Reef Fish

Good morning from Hill City South Dakota. We are waking up to temperatures in the low 30’s, buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurr! Aimee is downstairs wrapped in a big blanket drinking her Highlander Groog and visiting with our friends Leon and Sheila who have flown to Curacao many times to play with us! Yesterday never really warmed up but we went for a group mountain bike ride anyways on M-Hill. This was the first time Aimee had gotten to ride here and other than being cold she had a blast. We were joined by Leon, Dennis and of course our buddy Dan and Leon brought us bikes to ride, it was foggy and cold but beautiful! Afterwards we all drove in search of food and then Aimee and I went back to Rapid Valley to clean up and pack for our trip up to Hill City. For those of you in Holland or Curacao, find a good map on-line and find South Dakota. Then locate Rapid City, it’s in the lower left hand corner of the state and then you can find Hill City, that will help you picture where we are. Hill City is in the mountains and Rapid is kind of on the edge of the prairie or at the bottom of the hills. Yesterday on our drive up here which is only 25 miles we saw deer and wild turkeys all along the side of the road, squirrels, elk, and birds of every kind, it’s such a beautiful area! Today it will be warmer and we are doing another bike ride up near Pactola Lake, Aimee will just love it!!

Here’s a tiny little Secretary Blenny for your viewing pleasure this morning. These little fish are still one of my all time favorites and I always stop to watch them, they are just so fascinating and seem to be completely unafraid of divers!! These Blennies spend their days with their heads sticking out of a small hole in the coral watching for food pass by. Then when a particle of food is spotted they dart out of their holes like a rocket, grab the food and return to the safety of the reef.

Time to go, thanks for all the letters, it’s been great hearing from you! Talk to you more soon, Barry

Sep 18, 10     Comments Off on Juvenile Rock Beauty, Yellow Reef Fish, Curacao

Good morning from COLD South Dakota! Aimee and I are freezing our butts off this morning! Yesterday was one of the most fun days I have had since I have been here! Unlike today it was quite a bit warmer so I decided to finally get out and do some riding! Aimee drove me into town and I started a few miles away from M-Hill, that way I would be a little warmed up at least before I started climbing. The trails here are completely fantastic, how I wish I could get friends from Holland and from Curacao here to see just what they are missing, they would go crazy! I started out with climbing straight up the mountain and continued to climb for close to an hour and was shocked at how well I was doing, heck I have been sick for 2 weeks and haven’t done any real riding. I had such a funny thing happen during my ride once I got to the top of M-Hill which for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a new mountain bike park right in the middle of Rapid City. Anyways, I crested the top and was just getting ready to do a long section of super fast downhill when I passed 3 people on bikes. Well one of the ladies I passed yelled out “RACER” at the top of her lounges, it almost scared me! Seconds after passing her I saw a group of 30+ kids all with bikes way in front of me and like the parting of the Red Sea everyone instantly made room for me to fly by! So seeing that the path was clear I really turned on the gas to give the kids a show, it was 100% showing off!! Right in front of them was a small jump which I hit perfectly and flew through the air, the kids were screaming which just made me go faster! I did things I would usually never do without an audience like standing up like a pro going down hill peddling at full speed, like I wasn’t already going fast enough? The kids just kept on yelling as I continued on the trail below them so I just kept going full speed hitting each corner in a cloud of dust, it was great! For that brief one minute show I felt like Bart Brentjens on any given day and got a little taste of what it would be like to be a pro rider, it was great! I ended up riding for an hour and a half and then went back home to clean up. An hour later I met my friend Dan for lunch and after we took off to an area called Saint Martin and did another hour and a half mountain bike ride and I think I liked this area even more! So I had a full day of great biking something I have been wanting to do since I landed! In the evening we went over to our friends Bruce and Tass’s house for a wonderful get-together and later we were joined by more friends. Bruce and Tass are our friends who have traveled the World on their bicycles and now do shows all over the States about their journeys, you have to check it out, go to; http://www.imagesoftheworld.com/brucetass/brucetasshome.html  it was a wonderful night!

Here’s a super cute little Rock Beauty that was kind enough to pose for me and let me tell you these fish hate to be photographed, they are scared of everything!

That’s about it, Aimee spent time with her friends while I rode yesterday and finally got some shopping done. It’s Highlander Coffee time, see you tomorrow, Barry

Sep 17, 10     Comments Off on School of Blue Tangs, School of Fish, Motion

Hi all, we are back in Rapid City South Dakota again. I just can’t believe how fast time has been going, Aimee leaves Monday already? For us we have to waste two days just getting here, so that’s four days of travel alone! Yesterday we loaded our rocks up and left at around 8:00, it took us two hours to get to a beautiful town in the mountains called Hill City and that’s where we stopped for a few hours. We first went to the Best Art Gallery in South Dakota called, Dakota Nature and Art Gallery, check it out at www.dakotanatureandart.com  Brenda Larson who is the owner, helped teach Aimee a little about wire wrapping jewelry which she has wanted to do for a long time. While there we bought a beautiful print that will someday hang in our house but for now we will leave it with friends. We had lunch at the Alpine Inn and as expected it was out of this World great and we topped our feast off with a famous brownie delight, yummy!! On the way back into Rapid City I dropped Aimee off at her friend Heather’s house out near Hart Ranch and she spent the whole afternoon with her. I then drove back to my storage unit and unloaded all our stuff and then spent the afternoon washing the truck, clothes and myself and at 7:00 went to pick Aimee up. We had dinner at a place called Applebee’s it was great and after we spent the whole evening inside Borders Book store, that day went fast!

Here’s a big school of Blue Tangs that I shot not long before I left and always seem to be a crowd pleaser.

Have lots to do this morning so I better get moving, see you tomorrow, Barry

Sep 16, 10     Comments Off on Collecting Fossil Ammonites, Cephalopods

Good morning from windy Wyoming! I have had countless questions this week regarding the fossils we are here collecting so yesterday I took the time to photograph one of our better finds. This is called an Ammonite, it’s a fossil sea shell of sorts that once swam here in a shallow sea. This one here is around 5-6 inches wide. The ammonites once had an animal living in them that was very much like a squid or an octopus and are in the cephalopod family. We are collecting in the Grandis and Baculus zone and fossils found here are around 68-71 million years old. We find these beautiful things by walking the prairie and searching for what we call “mud balls” or “concreations” that are starting to weather out from below the surface. Once one is located we use a rock pick to dig it out and a small sledge hammer to open it. Many times we break what we are looking for but you can pick up the pieces and put them back together back home in a lab. I love waking in areas that used to be underwater and being able to find clues to the past. It’s fun to envision all these cool and unusual creatures swimming around in an ocean now called Wyoming, there is still so much to learn.

We are heading back to South Dakota today, Aimee still has lots of friends to see and a small time to do it and I want to go mountain biking.

Thanks for all the support, Barry

Sep 15, 10     Comments Off on Cowboy Roping Horses, Western Round-Up

Good morning friends, by request this morning I have another Western type photo for you all from the ranch we are staying on here in Wyoming. This is Danny again except this time in high pursuit of a herd of beautiful horses.  The goal here was to round up this group of horses that had been freely roaming the prairie and drive them into the stalls at the ranch. Danny had told me before we went out “be ready for anything” and he was right! As I watched from a safe distance Danny took off at high speed across the sagebrush covered prairie in a cloud of dust heading straight towards the herd of wandering horses. Once there, he started rounding them up one by one into a group with the help of his faithful dog and within seconds was on his way back towards me. I kid you not when I say the ground was shaking and at times all you could see was Danny riding behind the herd in a cloud of dust! If even I felt like I was in a real live Western movie it was then, you could feel the excitement in the air. I ran around with camera in hand trying my best to not get run over and try to get a good shot at the same time, not an easy thing to do but boy was it ever fun to watch.

We had another fun day yesterday out hiking and taking photos. Aimee and I found some great stuff again and we can hardly wait to show it to our friends in the business and assorted researchers.

Aimee just left to help round up cattle on horse-back and I am going collecting, hope all is well, see you tomorrow, Barry

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