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 May, 2014
May 30, 14 Comments Off on School of Snappers, Bonaire Underwater Photos
Good afternoon folks. I have been so busy ever since returning from Peru that I can’t seem to get caught up?? Upon our return I made the mistake of writing down a major “to-do” list on our erasable board in the bathroom and have been trying hard to get these items done or at least started. Most of my tasks revolve around the camera meaning I have new photos to take for Ikelite, thousands of Peru photos to get out to our editor, key-wording existing photos from underwater, I need new blue-light photos, I have to send my camera to the States for repair and on and on, it can get a bit overwhelming at times! Yesterday was another holiday here in Curacao and today (Friday) we had a submersible dive at 9:15am so there is zero grass growing under these feet! Tomorrow I will try to leave at O-Dark thirty and get in a 3-4 hour mountain bike ride but if the wind is like it is now that may be a long ride! My new carbon fiber 27.5 Scott racing bike arrived in Florida yesterday and a friend will bring it here in a few weeks, I can hardly wait! As of my last post we have had a tiny bit of rain but not enough to really water anything, we are all still waiting for some real moisture!
I have a very tame, very used to people, school of Gray Snappers or Mangrove Snappers for you all today from under the pier at Buddy Dive in Bonaire.
The mangrove snapper or gray snapper, Lutjanus griseus, is a species of snapper native to the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. They can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including brackish and fresh waters. It is commercially important, as well as being sought as a game fish. Its color is typically greyish red, but it can change color from bright red to copper red. It has a dark stripe running across its eye if observed from the top when it is under water. This species can reach a length of 89 cm (35 in), though most do not exceed 40 cm (16 in). The greatest recorded weight for this species is 20 kg (44 lb).
The mangrove snapper can be confused with the Cubera snapper or black snapper, Lutjanus cyanopterus. Mangrove snapper are typically much smaller than Cubera, but when they are of similar size, the two species can only be distinguished by examining the tooth patch on the inside roof of the mouth. Many specimens caught in Florida, specifically Punta Gorda, are actually misidentified dogtooth or dog snapper, Lutjanus jocu. The best way to distinguish between the two species is dog snapper has a lighter triangle of color with a blue band under the eye and large, sharp fangs in the front (canines), hence its common name. These fangs can deliver a painful bite, even in a small fish. The mangrove snapper feeds mostly on small fishes and crustaceans.
The mangrove snapper is one of the most common species of snapper in warmer regions. It can be found in many areas from canals to grass flats, as well as in open water. Most mangrove snapper in the open water are generally found near bottom structure or reefs. They can be found at depths from 5 to 180 m (16 to 591 ft) though are mostly found at less than 50 m (160 ft).
I have to run, hope all is well out there!!
Have a great weekend-Barry
May 27, 14 Comments Off on School of Black Margate Fish, 1000 Steps Bonaire
Good morning gang, I have been so busy lately! Aimee and I are headed to the local Curacao post office this morning and talk to them about having stamps made from our deep-water fish that the Smithsonian has found, how cool would that be??
I got in a fast paced 2 hour bike ride last night and came home covered in dust! The island is so dry it’s unreal, I don’t think we have ever seen it so dry this early in the year!
Here is a beautiful school of Black Margates that we found in around 45 feet of water at 1000 Steps in Bonaire a while back.
The Black Margate, Anisotremus surinamensis, is a species of grunt native to the Western Atlantic Ocean from Florida and the Bahamas to Brazil and throughout the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. It can be found at depths from 0 to 20 m (0 to 66 ft), preferring steeply sloping rocky bottoms or reefs with nearby areas for shelter. This species can reach 76 cm (30 in), though most do not exceed 45 cm (18 in). The maximum recorded weight for this species is 5.8 kg (13 lb). It is important to commercial fisheries as a food fish and is popular in public aquariums.
Also known as Grunts, Dogfish, Black Thick-lip, Surf Bream and Black Bream, species name, Sweetlips (Haemulidae.
Sweetlips are usually found either singly or in groups hovering over the reef during the day. They are nocturnal predators feeding on fish and benthic crustaceans.
In some areas sweetlips are known as “Grunts” because they “grunt”, the grunting sound is produced by their flat teeth plates rubbing together and this is amplified by their air bladders.
Sweetlips can be distinguished from other species by their very large rubbery lips.
Very busy these days working on the thousands of photos we shot in Peru, will eventually get more posted and I hope to get a fun slide-show together for all to see.
Have a wonderful day!
May 25, 14 Comments Off on RANGER RICK COVER PHOTO, Porcupine fish Photo
Good morning friends, If your out and about you may want to pick up the new June/July issue of RANGER RICK featuring one of my “pet” Porcupinefish’s that resides out in front of the Substation on a daily basis. This particular photo was taken back in April of 2013 but he’s still out there because I saw him on Friday. Here is the actual link to that older post showing the original photo I had sent out. http://www.coralreefphotos.com/porcupinefish-giant-pufferfish-boxfishes/ For those of you with kids Ranger rick is by far one of the hands down most educational magazines on the planet and you and your kids will love it. Here is the link for your subscription. http://www.nwf.org/kids/ranger-rick.aspx
Porcupinefish are fishes of the family Diodontidae, (order Tetraodontiformes), also commonly called blowfish (and, sometimes, balloonfish and globefish). They are sometimes collectively (but erroneously) called pufferfish, not to be confused with the morphologically similar and closely related Tetraodontidae, which are more commonly given this name.
Porcupinefish are medium- to large-sized fish, and are found in shallow temperate and tropical seas worldwide. A few species are found much further out from shore, wherein large schools of thousands of individuals can occur. They are generally slow.
Porcupinefish have the ability to inflate their bodies by swallowing water or air, thereby becoming rounder. This increase in size (almost double vertically) reduces the range of potential predators to those with much bigger mouths. A second defense mechanism is provided by the sharp spines, which radiate outwards when the fish is inflated.
Some species are poisonous, having a tetrodotoxin in their internal organs, such as the ovaries and liver. This neurotoxin is at least 1200 times more potent than cyanide. The poison is produced by several types of bacteria obtained from the fish’s diet. As a result of these three defenses, porcupinefish have few predators, although adults are sometimes preyed upon by sharks and killer whales. Juveniles are also preyed on by tuna and dolphins.
So how was your weekend?? Is it finally warming up out there?? I know many of you have been locked in cold weather for so many months and are praying for summer!!! My weekend was filled with mountain biking, trail work and sitting at the computer and like always it went by way too fast!!
We have two submersible dives today the 1st starting at around 9:15 and the next around 11:15, check out www.seesubmarine.com
Have to run, Barry
May 23, 14 Comments Off on Trunkfish, Smooth Trunkfish. Lactophrys triqueter
Hi gang, sorry I have been so busy I forgot to label this photo for you all! This is my favorite fish in the sea called a Smooth Trunkfish or Rhinesomus triqueter.
Rhinesomus triqueter, the smooth trunkfish, is a species of boxfish found on and near reefs in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and subtropical parts of the Western Atlantic Ocean. It is the only known member of its genus.
The smooth trunkfish has an angular body sheathed in plate-like scales, growing to a maximum length of 47 centimetres (19 in), though 20 cm (8 in) is a more normal size. The body is enclosed in a bony carapace and, when viewed from the front, is triangular in shape with a narrow top and wide base. The fish has a pointed snout with protuberant lips encircling a small mouth. The tail is shaped like a brush. The general background colour is dark with a pattern of small white spots, often in hexagonal groups giving a honeycomb-like appearance in the middle area of the body. The tip of the snout and the area round the pectoral fins are dark with few spots and the eyes are black. The fins are usually yellowish with a dark base and tips. They have only soft rays with no spines.
The juveniles have dark colored bodies covered in large yellow spots. As they get older, they develop a pale area where the honeycomb markings will later appear.
The smooth trunkfish is found down to a depth of about 50 m (164 ft) on coral reefs and over sandy seabeds in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the western Atlantic Ocean. The range extends from Canada and the Gulf of Maine southwards to Brazil.
The smooth trunkfish is normally solitary but sometimes moves around in small groups. It uses its protuberant lips to expel a jet of water which disturbs the sandy seabed and reveals any shallowly buried benthic invertebrates. It feeds on small molluscs, polychaete worms, acorn worms, peanut worms, small crustaceans, sponges and tunicates.
May 22, 14 Comments Off on Corallianassa longiventris, Shrimp, Crustacean
Good morning friends, Aimee and I are both home sick with some kind of crazy cold/flu and didn’t go into work yesterday at all. So since we were both home coughing and sneezing we worked on getting our fun Peru photos ready to send to our editor in Arizona so he can get them on the market for sale.
Thanks to our friend Ellen in Bonaire, I finally got a name for this colorful little creature that is currently living in a deep burrow out in front of our Substation in about 15 feet of water. This is called an Orange Ghost Shrimp, Corallianassa longiventris and as of yesterday I have seen two of them now in our area. The hole or borrow he lives in is about the size of a quarter and he just sits there patiently all day waiting for little pieces of food to pass by. What I have been doing is hand-feeding him little piece of algae and he seems to love it! If I dangle algae over his hole, the little shrimp will climb up all the way to the top and grab whatever I have in my hand and take it all the way down into his hole and then within minutes come back for more. He must have a big room down there as I have given him a lot of green stuff and I know he’s just tucking it away for a stormy day! Thanks again Ellen for the I.D. help, it’s always appreciated!
Lots to do, have a great day.
May 20, 14 Comments Off on Free-diving, Freediving with Bottlenose Dolphins
Good morning friends, I did a super fun underwater photo shoot yesterday with our long time friend and co-worker Thalitha and her favorite dolphin Annie. As you can tell from the photo Annie LOVES Thalitha!! You can’t do this with just any dolphin, you have to build a trust which takes years and years!! Annie has been one of our top animals since we have been here (10 years) and is one of our main dolphins we take out onto the reef on a regular basis for interaction with divers. Here are a few fun dolphin facts from our friends at www.sciencekids.com
Compared to other animals, dolphins are believed to be very intelligent.
Dolphins are carnivores (meat eaters).
The Killer Whale (also known as Orca) is actually a type of dolphin.
Bottlenose dolphins are the most common and well known type of dolphin.
Female dolphins are called cows, males are called bulls and young dolphins are called calves.
Dolphins live in schools or pods of up to 12 individuals.
Dolphins often display a playful attitude which makes them popular in human culture. They can be seen jumping out of the water, riding waves, play fighting and occasionally interacting with humans swimming in the water.
Dolphins use a blowhole on top of their heads to breathe.
Dolphins have excellent eyesight and hearing as well as the ability to use echolocation for finding the exact location of objects.
Dolphins communicate with each other by clicking, whistling and other sounds.
Some dolphin species face the threat of extinction, often directly as a result of human behavior. The Yangtze River Dolphin is an example of a dolphin species which may have recently become extinct.
Many fishing methods, such as the use of nets, kill a large number of dolphins every year.
We have a Dutch television crew showing up here in about 30 minutes meaning I need to get ready for a dive.
Have a wonderful day!
May 19, 14 Comments Off on Endangered Queen Conch, Lobatus gigas
Good morning friends, how was your weekend?? Mine was pretty mellow, I still find myself dreaming and wishing I was back in Peru as there were still so many things there we didn’t get to see!!
Curacao is now locked in some kind of terrible drought and is the driest we have ever seen it for this time of year! We continue to take water out to the desert everyday and try to feed the poor iguanas but there is only so much one can do. Yesterday we had 5 skinny iguanas sitting in a bush across from our house. I grabbed a few banana’s and tossed them over the wall along with wet-bread and they loved it.
Here is a beautiful, empty or dead Queen conch shell, Lobatus gigas we found in the water most likely eaten by a hungry octopus.
Lobatus gigas, commonly known as the Queen conch, is a species of large edible sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family of true conches, the Strombidae. This species is one of the largest molluscs native to the tropical northwestern Atlantic, from Bermuda to Brazil, reaching up to 35.2 centimetres (13.9 in) in shell length. L. gigas is closely related to the goliath conch, Lobatus goliath, a species endemic to Brazil, as well as the rooster conch, Lobatus gallus.
The Queen conch is herbivorous and lives in seagrass beds, although its exact habitat varies by development stage. The adult animal has a very large, solid and heavy shell, with knob-like spines on the shoulder, a flared thick, outer lip and a characteristic pink-colored aperture (opening). The flared lip is absent in younger specimens. The external anatomy of the soft parts of a Queen conch are similar to that of other snails in its family; it has a long snout, two eyestalks with well-developed eyes, additional sensory tentacles, a strong foot and a corneous, sickle-shaped operculum.
The shell and soft parts of a living Queen serve as a home to several different kinds of commensal animals, including slipper snails, porcelain crabs and cardinalfish. Its parasites include coccidians. The Queen conch is hunted and eaten by several species of large predatory sea snails, and also by starfish, crustaceans and vertebrates (fish, sea turtles and humans). Its shell is sold as a souvenir and used as a decorative object. Historically, Native Americans and indigenous Caribbean peoples used parts of the shell to create various tools.
International trade in Queen conch is regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) agreement, in which it is listed as Strombus gigas. This species is not endangered in the Caribbean as a whole, but is commercially threatened in numerous areas, largely due to extreme overfishing.
Have a wonderful day all!!
May 16, 14 Comments Off on Banded Butterflyfish, Chaetodon striatus
Good morning all, remember back in January when I took off to the States to help test all the new mountain bikes for Outside Magazine?? Well the video I shot was finally released yesterday and I have it here for you to enjoy this morning. This is an annual event that is held in Tucson, Arizona and not only does one get to ride $12,000 bikes around, you get to ride with some of the best riders on the planet, talk about a blast!!
So, as you can imagine being back and trying to get into the groove of things is not as easy as we had hoped but slowly and surely we are trying, we just miss Peru!! I already started going through my thousands of images and picking out the best which will all go to our editor in Arizona and then eventually be for sale, so if you see something you like, please let me know. Aimee finally got all her Peruvian treasures unpacked, she bought beautiful blankets, hats of all kinds, scarfs, purses, gloves, belts, 3-alpaca stuffed animals and on and on, our house looks very colorful right now!
I have a close-up shot of a banded Butterflyfish for you all today. These are one of the more common fish on the reef and usually always seen in pairs.
Oh yeah, I updated the post from yesterday. I had forgotten that Aimee took photos of all the information plates under each item after I photographed them, talk about team work!
Have a wonderful day,
May 15, 14 Comments Off on Pre Columbian Peruvian Art in Cusco Peru
Good morning friends, we are back from Peru!! Boy does time fly by, I really can’t believe 3 weeks pasted by that quickly?? I ended up bringing home around 400GB of photos, so much in fact I had to go out and buy yet another 1TB hard-drive! The trip was fantastic from start to finish, we not only found it easy to get around, we found there are so many ways to get around! Much of our thanks goes out to COPA and LAN Airlines, talk about service!! American Airlines could learn a lot from these two carriers! Not only are the planes new and you have so much leg room, you get free hot meals, free drinks (alcohol or soft), blankets, headrests, free headphones, electronic everything and on an on, I could brag about them all day!! We learned early in the game not to waste $$ on taxi’s as there are all kinds of alternatives that will save you tons of cash! We stayed at 6 different hotels during the trip and all were unique and wonderful, I will post these later in a “traveling Peru” paper we putting together for 1st time visitors. Aimee and I walked everyday from sun-up till sun-down some times as long as 9 hours! We visited all the top sites in the Sacred Valley area and visited many spots seldom seen by most tourists taking photos every minute of the day! The Peruvian people are warm and kind and very hard working, they believe in 3 things, do not steal, do not be lazy and work hard! I will continue to post photos on the Peru page on the left of my home page as I get them prepared and feel free to ask questions.
The above photo is one of the many artifacts we photographed at the Pre-Colombian museum in Cusco. This is one of 3 “Human Figurines” from the Chancay Imperial Period 1300-1532 A.D. This is a ceramic representation of a human being of more or less realistic style, very creatively crafted and rendered with a suggestion of primitivism. It is that particular “unfinished” sculptural quality and ability that makes this example so attractive. The ceramist models each piece availing himself of rudimentary decorative elements. One’s attention is mainly drawn by the remarkably shortened and very weak extremities, the lightly sketched facial features and the sometimes unfinished decorative motif. We got really lucky with getting permission to photograph these items and up till now many of these items were not allowed to be photographed.
I have a dive in 30 minutes that I need to get ready for so stay tuned for more.
Have a great day all, Barry
May 6, 14 Comments Off on PERU Photos, PERU Updates, PERU Images 2014
Hi friends, long time I know!!! I am slowly building a PERU page with photos, it’s on the left side of my home page under “PAGES” check there for new updates! Having a total blast!
See you soon, Barry and Aimee