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 May, 2012

May 31, 12     Comments Off on Laughing Gull, Bonaire Birds, Larus atricilla

Good morning all, our Smithsonian scientists are all leaving us this morning and heading back to the States, we sure will miss them !! Some of them will return in August for another round of collecting in search of new things to share with the whole world while others won’t return for another year or so. I still have a lot of cool photos to share with you of their recent deep-water discoveries but am trying to get them identified first before posting them on the site.

Yesterday we started out the day by taking three customers on a fun trip down to 500 feet and then after that a few of the Smithsonian folks went down again for one last tour. They did find another weird crab (not a hermit) and I will try and get it photographed today. Also some of the bigger hermit crabs they collected this week I will be taking back out to the reef today and photographing them in their natural settings so again sit tight, fun stuff is on the way.

After work yesterday I met Stijn and we took off on a fast hour and forty minute ride on the rough trails out behind the Sea Aquarium. Everything is getting dry now with the lack of rain, the island is slowing turning back into the desert island we know and remember. I was thinking yesterday that I will have to start bringing water again out into the desert soon for the animals that need fresh water, we have done it for years in the dry seasons. Here at the house I have to fill 5 different water bowls for the birds and lizards every day, it’s amazing how fast they drink the water!

Here is a funny photo of a Laughing Gull, Larus atricilla that I photograhed in Bonaire at Buddy Dive. I will let you fill in the caption of what you think this bird is thinking and please send it to me after, talk about a bird with a lot of facial expression! This is a true seabird, it can be found along the shore and most anywhere in the harbors. It feeds on fish, but will eat just about anything including garbage. Breeding is known from Bonaire and Aruba but has not really been documented in Curacao. I do have a mating photo I took a few weeks ago at the Substation if some of you remember so maybe I better send that in and get the books changed.

Have a wonderful day, I am going with Aimee this morning on a nice walk with the dogs and then will go into work. See you all soon, Barry

May 30, 12     Comments Off on Bonaire, Divi-Divi Tree, Wind Blown Trees, Dividivi

Good morning from the windy Caribbean! I figured with all this wind we are having how about a photo showing the effects of strong wind so I found this photo of a Dividivi Tree, Caesalpinia coriaria that we discovered along the road in Bonaire. In Bonaire and Aruba it was believed that a person sleeping under a Dividivi Tree could not wake by himself, he or she had to be awakened by someone else and YES, I have heard this story more than once. The typical lop-sided crown is caused by the wind which almost always blows from the same direction. The branches at the wind side grow less and eventually shrivel so that ultimately the tree grows only at the leeward side. However, not only the Dividivi shows this phenomenon. other trees growing in windy areas will show the same one sided growth.

We had a fun but busy day at the Substation yesterday and came home so tired I didn’t go biking. During one of the sub dives at 450 feet a 10 foot Hammerhead Shark appeared out of the darkness and swam directly towards the front of the sub. I heard it happened so fast that no one got a photo and once they turned on the two lights it took off deeper into the darkness but what a major treat for the passengers!

Here is a new link to a film made by the boys at Bike Freaks Magazine in Holland of Stijn and I taking them for a trip on the World Cup trail.  The movie is a bit long and kind of hard to watch but you can skip ahead and get a bit of an idea of the trails here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EwVmgk4mEQ&feature=g-upl

That’s about it, off to work, have a wonderful day!! Barry

May 28, 12     Comments Off on Possible Asterinopsis pilosa Starfish, Deep Water Starfish

Hello friends, here is another super cool find by the folks from the Smithsonian who have been using our sub now for a week to search for new deep water creatures. We think this could be “Asterinopsis pilosa” but please don’t quote me on that yet, we or they are in the process of trying to find out and I will update this post when I find out for sure. This is in fact a super tiny 9mm/or 3/8th of an inch Starfish that was found clinging to a beer bottle at 700 plus feet on the sandy bottom. That is small, get out a ruler and look for yourself. Now I know what your thinking, how in the heck did they ever spot such a small creature from inside the sub?? Good question. They were looking for bottles as bottles are homes to all kinds of small crabs and worms and it wasn’t till the bottle was back in the lab that the starfish was found clinging to the outside and is considered an extra bonus! I wish you could see the incredible amount of detail this little guy has, I have rarely seen anything with this much pattern in or out of the water! The last few days the sub has been finding and bringing up these super old bottles from the early 1800’s, those alone are quite a find and of so beautiful!

Not much else to report today, tomorrow we are full at substation, it will be one very busy and fast paced day for all of us!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday, talk more soon, Barry

May 28, 12     Comments Off on Baby Perotrochus Gouyanus Slit shell, Rare Sea Shells

Good morning friends,  Here’s something really cool that the scientists from the Smithsonian found this week in the Curasub at around 600 feet. This is a really rare adult and a little baby Perotrochus Gouyanus (Fischer & Bernardi, 1856)  that was successfully brought up alive!  To our knowledge this is the smallest live slit shell ever found and when I say small he’s smaller than a dime and cute as can be! This is by far one of the most rare and sought after mollusks on planet Earth, just his shell can fetch thousands of dollars to the right buyer or collector. The adult shell  is only around three inches wide by two inches tall. So once again you lucky folks get to see something that only a handful of scientists have ever seen and would probably kill to get to observe, it’s really one super cool animal!

The superfamily of Pleurotomariacae Swainson, 1840, are among the oldest surviving mollusca on Earth, having first appeared in the late upper Cambrian period over 500 million years ago. The Pleurotomariidae family includes all recent slit-shell species, first appeared in the Triassic period, some 200 million years ago. Since the discovery of the first living plearotomariid species, all have been commonly referred to as “living fossils” having previously thought to be extinct since the Tertiary. The slit-shell was first illustrated by a Japanese naturalist named Kimura Kenkado in 1755. The slit-shell family consists of top shaped shells characterized by a slit in the edge of the outer whorl. When threatened as you see here, the animal is capable of discharging a very toxic white solution! These mollusks like others do have a cool little circular operculum but it is not visible in this photo. The operculum is like a shield and uses it as a last defense to block entry into it’s delicate mantle area. Sixteen species are known to exist and all are found deep. Most extant species are in the genus Perotrochus and Entemnotrochus. The slit-shell is evolutionarily primitive and lives as a grazer. Sponges form the staple diet, although other food residues have been found in the esophagus and rectum of preserved animals. It is found in tropical and subtropical waters, typically at 300-3000 foot depths. Few people have actually observed a living slit-shell in it’s natural habitat, which can be easily explained by the nature of the habitat it is found in. The uniqueness and sheer beauty of these magnificent shells make them one of the classic rarities of the shell world.

I have been so busy this week photographing all the new deep-water speciamens that have been found by the Smithsonian and have lots of new cool photos to send after we get them named.

Saturday was so busy!! I first took the dogs for a two hour walk and did some much needed trail work on the Calabash trail and while there replaced a Geocache container that had been robbed again? After that I raced to work to do a dive with a friend who just bought my old/new Nikon D-300s and since she bought the housing and camera I am going to teach her how to use it all underwater as well. Our dive turned out to be a bit frustrating for both of us as we had quite the strong current and trying to take photos in current is about as hard as it gets. So needless to say we picked the wrong day to start photo class underwater but we did have a good time just the same. After that and I mean directly after that I met the ladies from the Smithsonian and took them collecting sea-glass for an hour, that’s always a great time! I then raced home, grabbed my camera and tripod and met a friend out in front of my house who picked me up in his car. We ended up picking up more of his friends and drove to a very out of the way secluded beach to film a short commercial for a new pair of bamboo sunglasses that my friend has just designed and will be selling in the near future. The glasses are really cool and when he gets the footage put together I will post the link, it’s one of those Earth friendly items that everyone should own!! I ended up getting home close to 9:00 in the evening and was starved, I ate and went to bed, what a day!

Yesterday I took the dogs to Saint Joris and went mounting biking, it was a much more relaxed day and was nice to just not do anything!

That’s it, all the dolphin babies are doing great, we haven’t heard much about Lola the puppy but last word was all is going well, we sure miss her around here.  Have a great Monday, see you tonight or tomorrow morning, Barry

May 25, 12     Comments Off on Baby Dolphin, Newborn Dolphin, Baby Bottlenose

Good morning. This is the newborn baby of Tela! It is a female, and her new name is Serena. She was born 5 weeks ago, and is doing great. This photo was  taken during the first days after she was born. Babies are usually much darker, and will throw their heads up and out of the water to breath. The reason the head comes out like this, is that the newborn just does not have the swimming coordination of an adult yet. They need to get better body control in order to do the relaxed “breathing roll” that you see the adults do. Baby dolphins will breath like this for about 3-4 days, getting the slower and smoother roll perfected. They are able to hold their breath underwater alongside momma for quite some time, even from the beginning. And simultaneous movement and breathing between mother and calf is one way we know the calf is strong and healthy. Serena will stay tucked in alongside Tela for the first week, actually using mostly Tela’s slip stream for her forward motion. She will get stronger and more coordinated and soon be moving more on her own, in front of and around momma. Baby dolphins need to grow fast and learn to swim and nurse withing the first 24 hours. These little ones have a lot to learn in a short amount of time.

From the island of Curacao have a wonderful day, do something to help your fellow man, the Earth or man’s best friend, it’s time well spent!

Aimee

May 23, 12     Comments Off on Deep Water Scaphopoda, Tusk Shell, Hermit Crab

Good evening readers, I have something NEW and VERY SPECIAL for you all tonight! This is a rare and possibly new species of Deep Water Hermit Crab. He or she was found by the Curasub living inside a discarded Scaphopoda shell on the sand at around 750 feet!! Is he cute or what?? He uses that big weird looking claw as an operculum of sorts meaning that claw will not fit inside the shell so he uses it as his protective door. He is currently residing in a big cold water aquarium and doing very well and is just a blast to watch. The shell he is in is called a Tusk Shell and it’s real long and comes to a point on one end, I will try to get a side view of his shell for you. This is just one of the many cool finds discovered this week by a World Famous team of scientists that are here from the Smithsonian Institution. We don’t know much about him but I did  find a little information on the shell he is in so read on.

The Scaphopoda are a distinctive group of molluscs commonly known as the “tusk shells” because their shells are conical and slightly curved to the dorsal side, making the shells look like tiny tusks. The scientific name Scaphopoda means “shovel foot,” a term that refers to the “head” of the animal, which lacks eyes and is used for burrowing in marine mud and sediments. The most distinctive feature of scaphopods is that the tubular shell is open at both ends, not just one end as in most molluscs.

Scaphopods live their adult lives buried in sand or mud, with their head end pointed downwards. Only the narrow posterior end of the shell sticks up into the seawater for water exchange and waste expulsion. Gills have been lost in the scaphopods, so the mantle tissue not only produces the shell, but also serves the function of gills in obtaining oxygen from seawater. The mantle is fused into a tube that surrounds the body of the animal, but it is open at both ends. Water is circulated around the mantle cavity by the action of numerous cilia. When the dissolved oxygen runs low, the water is ejected through the top end of the shell by contraction of the foot.

I did three dives today and am wiped out!! I hope all is well out there, please drop a line and tell us what your up too. Have a great evening, Barry

May 23, 12     Comments Off on Troupial, Icterus icterus, Tropical Yellow Birds

Good morning friends, what a busy day yesterday was!! I first did a dive with the sub at around 10:00 and the water was very clear making for some nice pictures! I then hauled all my camera gear over to our wet-lab and photographed rare little deep water creatures found by the Smithsonian group till 4:30. I  then raced back to the Substation, grabbed my bike and met Stijn and a new rider from the States for an hour and a half bike ride which was super fun but windy, hot and humid beyond belief!  Then directly after the ride I went back to work till 9:30 last night shooting more images for the Smithsonian group, whew!! I am up this morning at 4:45 just to get the photos I took downloaded and get the blog done before work, the mornings go by so fast!

Here is one of our local birds that hang out with the dolphin trainers in their outside eating area each and every day. He’s called a Troupial, Icterus Icterus and is commonly confused with our other Yellow bird the Oriole. If one see the two birds sitting in a tree together from a distance you really can’t see a major difference but look closer and listen, then they really become two different animals. This guy here pretty much does whatever he wants. He sits on the all chairs and waits for food to fall onto the ground or if there is no one eating he will just fly over to the food prep area and take it upon himself to get into anyone’s unattended food. I can’t even count the times I have caught these guys stealing someone’s lunch and they don’t just take a piece they are big enough that they will just take your whole sandwich and find a spot up high to enjoy it!

Sorry so short, I still have a lot to do before work and we are again very busy today at Substation! I will send some photos out soon of the cool new creatures being found so stay tuned!

Have a great day, Barry

May 22, 12     Comments Off on Coral Bleaching Before and After Photos, Curacao

Severe Coral Bleaching Before Nov/30/2010

Same Coral Healed, May/10/2012

Good morning friends, I finally found another coral colony that I have been looking for out on our reef, not so easy to find after a year and a half! This is another major success story as this mound or colony of Star Coral was almost completely bleached and dying but  found the strength to hold on and is now completely recovered. Coral bleaching is caused by various anthropogenic and natural variations in the reef environment including sea temperature, solar irradiance, sedimentation, xenobiotics, subaerial exposure, inorganic nutrients, freshwater dilution, and epizootics. Coral bleaching events have been increasing in both frequency and extent worldwide in the past 20 years. Global climate change may play a role in the increase in coral bleaching events, and could cause the destruction of major reef tracts and the extinction of many coral species. I am personally really shocked at how long these corals are taking to heal, remember my big coral face?? I see that one everyday and it’s still only at around 75% back to normal, I will send you a shot of that one as well. Remember we can all do our part to help this global warming such as; recycle, car-pool, ride your bike to work, use less heat and air conditioning, change your old light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), plant a tree, and encourage others to conserve, that’s just a few.   

We are diving with the folks from the Smithsonian Institutuion today and at 5:00 I’m leading a group from the States on a tour of our fun trails, busy day on tap!

Have a great day, Barry

May 21, 12     Comments Off on Foster Dog, Rescue Dog, Traveling with Pets,

Good Morning from Curacao!
 
Well, this is Lola and I waiting in front of the Curacao airport before our “big flying day’! She was great and here is our little story, written in a note from me to Barry.
 
Hi honey! We have touchdown! Safe and sound, drinking a cup of coffee with Lola relaxing under the kitchen table.  I have to say Lola was NOT a good girl yesterday…..She was AWESOME! INCREDIBLE-AMAZING-SUPER-FANTASTIC! A real trooper for sure. 
 
At Curacao they let me wait a long time with Lola, and even go out onto the tarmac before putting her in the crate. The rope you gave me was perfect for tying on the front. Thanks. Everyone was super to her and me, talking and being  nice. I told everyone her name and they spoke directly to her. The airline girls were great and came over the radio and said “Mrs. Brown, Lola is safely onboard the flight”. We ran late in leaving Curacao, something about the ground crew, blah blah. We arrived about 11:15 to Miami. No problem at Customs, in fact, where I showed my passport, they checked her health certificate and stamped it and that was it! I picked her up at luggage, she was quietly laying down, curled up along the wall in her crate. When she saw me then she got a bit more excited, but all fine. We went straight through the next part, only had to put my backpack on the check area. 
Inside the airport people were very nice and helpful (some not, but ok). I got advice to check the crate into a baggage check/holding area. Perfect. It cost 7$ and they kept the kennel all day long! You should have done that with your bike on the last trip! Anyways, outside on the bottom level, they have these pet areas, which have little white picket fences, and have trees and grass and such. Easy, we walked everywhere and she was so great! Little Lola, head up, ear flopping over, trotting through the Miami airport helping Momma shop!   Yup, I was taking her into the stores and everything! I of course asked for permission, but everyone said ok because she was such a little lady, sitting when I asked her to and paying attention. I got fun photos of her in a bookstore, and then we went to have lunch at Chili’s! Believe it! So, they have the take-out area, we waited in line, Lola sitting nicely beside me. Then I got my lunch and we sat outside on the floor. Afterwards I got a nice photo of the two of us in front of the restaurant. Then I got a photo of just her waiting in line, too funny! Lots of people came over to talk to us and say what a nice dog she was.
 
Ok, so at 7pm I got her checked in again, no problem. Got myself through the check in…long time. Got on the plane and they once again confirmed that she was safely onboard. We waited about 5 minutes after that and the lady came online and said the captain did not show up and they were waiting for a back-up pilot! We would have to get off the plane and wait until about 9-9:30 for the next crew! What!???? So, off we went. I immediately went to a phone to call Hana to ask about picking me up at midnight! Wow. The phones were not working correctly (I could hear her, but she could not hear me), had to use three phones to get it correct! So, only got ahold of Missy, who then was contacting Hana to tell her what was going on. When I got off the phone, I was going to try Hana again, and heard over the big airport announcing thing “Mrs. Brown, please come to gate 41”!!!!What! How scary! After waiting 10 hours I am going to miss my plane!!!!What??? The crew showed up a bit early, and they were getting everyone onboard already (I had only been gone about 25 minutes and they were supposed to take about 1/5 hours)! So I hustled back, the ladies knew my face because of the dog stuff. Got onboard safely. Then the announcer came on again, said the pilot was there, but no ground crew available! What??????So we sat there and sat there. Eventually we did get off the ground, about 9 something. It was quite rough riding for a while, then better, and got to the MN airport safely. Lola was waiting quietly in her crate, got her fed and watered and Hana was soon there! Got to her place and slept pretty well on the couch with Lola nicely on the floor beside me! Whew!
 
Have a wonderful day all, Aimee
May 18, 12     Comments Off on Ikelite Underwater Systems, Ikelite Housings D-800

Good morning my faithful readers, how are you all today?? I just got word that Aimee was up at 3:30 this morning and on her way back to Curacao, talk about a woman with a story to tell!!

Your photo today comes straight from the website of the makers of the finest underwater housings in the World, IKELITE!! After doing my very first dive with my new Nikon D-800 in the dolphin baby lagoon I quickly sent my friends at Ikelite a photo to to say thanks again for yet another wonderful product and they ended up using the photo on their D-800 sales page,  here is the actual link; http://www.ikelite.com/web_two/nik_d800.html I’ve been using Ikelite products now for close to eight years and possibly more than anyone else out there as I dive almost every day. I started out with a Nikon D-100 that I bought in Rapid City, SD and ordered the housing for it just before we came down here not knowing a thing about underwater photography. I still remember getting that first housing and opening the box and thinking “what have I gotten myself into”?? So of course I immediately had questions and picked up the phone and called ikelite. This was how I first met my buddy Mike Rabideau who almost instantly made me feel at home and told me that we are here for you and stand behind our product, it was customer service beyond belief!! I remember hanging up thinking ” I can do this and now I can hardly wait to get into the water”, the rest is history. Mike and Jean (the owner) have helped me over  the years to go from the D-100, D-200, D-300, D-300s and now the D-800, they pretty much make a housing for all your camera needs big or small. My old D-100 housing is still going strong in Holland, it was sold to a friend of mine and he is still diving and sending me photos. So once again a big thanks to my friends at Ikelite for always being there and the unbelievable customer service, you guys are the best!

Have a wonderful weekend, I am taking the dogs out to play!! Barry

May 18, 12     Comments Off on Freediving with Dolphins, Swimming with Dolphins

Good morning friends, I received a FANTASTIC  letter yesterday from Aimee who arrived safe and sound in Michigan with Lola puppy and she said all went well! So well in fact that she said Lola and her walked all over the Miami airport together, including going into stores shopping and eating at a restaurant, can you believe that?? The letter she sent me will be posted right here for you all Sunday evening with a photo, so stay tuned for this story, it’s really something wonderful!

Yesterday was an island holiday but I went into work for half the day any ways! I had a ton of work to do on the underwater housings like cleaning and re-doing some of the push pins and afterwards took them to the pool to be checked for leaking. I was going to go diving yesterday but with overcast skies the photos would have looked like it was a night dive so I will just wait for the sun.

I did go for a long 27 mile bike ride last night starting at 4:00. It was hot and windy when I left so I first spent an hour riding all the single-track trails around here before heading out into the open and heading for the North coast for another hour and a half. I really hate riding in the wind and yesterday was about as bad as it get here, it just makes you feel like you are so out of shape and slow. When I finally got home I grabbed the dogs and took them for another walk and then passed by the Ribs Factory for dinner, since my chef is gone these nice folks are keeping me fed.

Here is “Dolphin Girl” doing what she does best, holding her breath and swimming underwater with the dolphins. This is her new found love Ritina and her baby Alita who is now almost two months old. When she returns we will be doing  more of these photos and of course some video, I just have to figure out how to post it for you to see but I think it will be easy.

Time to walk the dogs and get to work, have a great day, Barry

 

May 17, 12     Comments Off on Divers with Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles, Bonaire

Good morning folks, hopefully Aimee and Lola made it safe and sound into Michigan last night, I only got word that they arrived in Miami and had to wait there for nine hours before the next flight! I am finding out that many think we have lost our minds taking a local dog all the way to the States but as you may or may not know we tried and tried to find her a home here. We had a friend from Holland that was going to take her but for some reason they ended up not even coming to see her and went straight to the pound and picked up a dog there, so there went our last window. Over the years Aimee and I have fostered so many puppies and found homes for them all but now it’s getting much harder to do, everyone we know has a puppy now. So when a friend from the States said, “I would love to have her” we didn’t even think twice about taking her there ourselves, at least we know she will have a wonderful life and for sure will be the only dog in Michigan from Curacao! I did take a photo of them both at the airport before they left with Aimee’s camera and will post that when she returns and I am sure Aimee will have quite an adventure to share with you all as well!

Yesterday I spent a good part of the day underwater with the three baby dolphins and their mothers. I used my new D-800 and for the first time ever was able to get a little video, now I just need to figure out how to post it for you all to see!

Our dog Indi is really missing Lola so when I got home from work I took her and Inca to Saint Joris Bay for a full evening of running and swimming in the ocean, they both had a blast! Indi is so funny how she hides along the trail some place and waits to ambush poor Inca by launching out and chasing her, man can those two run fast! We ended up not getting home till pretty late last night and after a shower for everyone they were finished!

This is a beautiful Hawksbill Turtle we found on the East coast of Bonaire a few years back and lucky Jen (diver with light) got to swim right alongside. The Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family cheloniidae. It is the only species in its genus.  The species has a worldwide distribution, with Atlantic and Pacific subspecies. 
 
The hawksbill’s appearance is similar to that of other marine turtles.  It has a generally flattened body shape, a protective carapace, and flipper-like arms, adapted for swimming in the open ocean.E. imbricata is easily distinguished from other sea turtles by its sharp, curving beak with prominent tomium, and the saw-like appearance of its shell margins.  Hawksbill shells slightly change colors, depending on water temperature.  While this turtle lives part of its life in the open ocean, it spends more time in shallow lagoons and coral reefs where it feeds on its primary prey, sea sponges.  Some of the sponges eaten by E. imbricata are lethally toxic to other organisms.  In addition, the sponges that hawksbills eat usually contain high concentrations of silica, making them one of few animals capable of eating siliceous organisms. They also feed on other invertebrates, such as comb jellies and jellyfish. 
 
Today is a big Curacao holiday and it’s an official day off. I most likely will go into work and dive with the dolphins again, it’s just too much fun!
 
Have a wonderful day all, Barry
May 16, 12     Comments Off on Blue Light Photography Underwater, Fluorescence

Good morning all, it’s 4:00 in the morning and we are getting ready to take Lola (puppy) and Aimee to the airport for their all day trip up to Michigan.

I just got out of the ocean a few hours ago doing my second night dive with my new Blue Lights that make the reef Fluoresce. Fluorescence is the name for the absorption of light at one wavelength and its re-emission at another wavelength. What that boils down to is that some things will glow when you shine the right light on them. The ‘right light’ can be different for different targets. We are most used to seeing fluorescence produced by ultraviolet light, often called “black light” because we humans can’t see it.  So I recently purchased these new lights from Night Sea www.nightsea.com called; specially filtered blue lights, because the blue has proved to be better at making most things underwater fluoresce. Fluorescence is kind of magical, especially at night and underwater. You point one light at a target and a totally different color comes out. One of the characteristics of fluorescence is the intense, highly saturated colors. We are used to seeing things illuminated by white light, which contains all the colors of the spectrum. When something fluoresces it usually emits only a narrow range of colors, making it appear like a pure color. There are fluorescent items around you all the time. Highlighter pens, orange traffic cones and safety vests, and bright plastics for children’s toys are just a few examples of the way fluorescence is used. The fluorescence of these products is what makes them appear especially bright. This is some kind of tiny Anemone that I found last night glowing on the reef and soon after shooting this photo one of my strobes died so I had to call it quits and get back out. I had spent quite a bit of time yesterday afternoon getting my camera ready for last nights challenge but for some reason that one light went out and really without two lights (strobes/flashes) you will never get any good shots with blue lights. For the short time I was underwater last night I did see tons of beautiful things glowing and now am on a mission to learn how to do this better so stay tuned for more glowing underwater images to come.

I need to get to the airport, have a wonderful day, Barry

May 15, 12     Comments Off on Porcupinefish, Diodon hystrix, Boxfishes, Balloonfish

Good morning friends, still trying to recover from my crazy weekend. Stijn and I went on a night dive Saturday night and for the first time ever did something new, we dove with blue lights. This means instead of having the normal white light underwater to see where your going you now have a blue one and it makes all the corals and anemones flourese, it’s so cool! We both wore a pair of yellow glasses that fit over our masks and I had the camera set up with a yellow filter over the lens and two blue lights, one over each strobe. The corals turn electric green when hit with the blue lights and the anemones are absolutely beautiful! We also found out that lizardfish and goatfish really fluoresce as well but trying to get close to them is another story. We ended up not having great luck with the picture taking but had a blast with the hand held lights but hopefully with practice I will have a photo to show you real soon.

On Sunday I did a long walk with the dogs, went sea-glass collecting and then for a long mountain bike ride, we only have a little over a month now of training left before we head to the states to go riding. I am planning on being in the US for the whole month of July and I will most likely be posting photos from what ever we happen to be doing there.

Aimee leaves tomorrow morning early for the States with our little puppy to hand deliver her all the way up to Michigan!! The down side is she has a 9 hour lay-over in Miami!! Yeah, Yikes!! She will have to claim the dog and take her somewhere outside for the day so she doesn’t have to stay in a crate all day at the airport, stay tuned for more on this crazy story!

Your photo today is my sort-of-pet that lives at the Substation entry area and we see him or her everyday! This is a Porcupinefish, Diodon hystrix, and they are truly one of the hands down most mellow and gentle creatures on the planet! This one here loves sleeping and hiding under this rock and he is always here. If you are real quiet and careful he or she will let you move in very close but is always watching you with those big eyes. We have three dives planned with the sub today so I am sure I will be saying hi to this little beauty in just a few short hours.

Well, I need to get moving, have a wonderful day out there, Barry

May 14, 12     Comments Off on Dolphin Babies, Newborn Dolphin Babys, Dolphins

Good morning everyone. Here is one of my most favorite photos in the world! I wonder why? This is what has been keeping the Dolphin Academy trainers so busy the last months. On the right is Tela and her baby girl, in the middle is Annie and her baby boy, and on the left is Ritina and Alita peeking around the corner. Have you ever seen anything more beautiful? All three babies are doing very well, and there is a current contest going on for the names of the two little ones. Right now, I spend most of my days over with the baby pool, feeding mommas, and working to get the babies used to trainers and interacting with them. The personality of a baby comes two ways, by genetics and also by environment. The personality of the momma really comes into play so much, and it is exciting to see the difference in personalities of the three mommas and babies. If a mother is relaxed and confident, the baby is as well. If the mother is an over-reactor, the baby becomes more jumpy. I think the next year will be an exciting one seeing how these little ones  grow and learn. This is a one in a million photo, and Barry has spent quite the time underwater just waiting to get all 6 of them in the same frame. Tough stuff!

Have a great day, Aimee

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