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 March, 2015

Mar 31, 15     Comments Off on Testing Mountain Bikes for Outside Magazine 2015

Good morning friends, yesterday we had 3 customer submersible dives meaning yours truly was underwater and busy from sunup till sundown, no time for the blog.

I have a fun movie for you all today and it has nothing to do with a coral reef or Curacao. During my January vacation this year I met up with our buddy Aaron Gulley and his wife Jen in Tucson Arizona for another year of testing road and mountain bikes for Outside Magazine. I was also joined by Leon, one of our best friends who lives in South Dakota and loves to cycle and we both stayed with my mom. The event itself is called “Bourbon Bike”, it lasts for around a week and is a full out test of just how much riding a person can do in a day and can you keep it up for a week? About 100 of the most expensive road and mountain bikes are sent to Aaron in Tucson where first they all have to be taken out of the boxes and put together, this alone can take days! Then once the bikes are together a very select group of lucky riders meets at a designated location and on the hour, every hour, a different bike is taken out and ridden, sounds like fun right?? There are few riders like Aaron that have the ability to ride a different bike every hour of the day for a week straight, I’m lucky if I do half what he does! The film above shows 2 of the beautiful bikes we grabbed for a fun morning ride at Sweetwater preserve, one of the best single-track mountain bike trails in Tucson, Leon and I had a blast! 

I have another busy day on tap….

See you soon.

Barry

Mar 27, 15     Comments Off on Ikelite Blue-Lights UV Fluorescent Underwater Gear

Good morning friends, sorry about not posting yesterday but I got busy and then just ran out of time. I have a fun blue-light photo for you all today with Aimee as the star all decked out in her new Ikelite yellow glasses and her camera completely decked out in Ikelite blue-light fluorescent gear! So for those of you non-divers trying hard to figure out what is going on here let me try to better explain. What we are doing is putting blue-filters over our normal white light flashes, putting a yellow filter over the lens, wearing yellow glasses over our masks and using the white light VEGA’S (Ikelite video lights) as our main search lights, which also have blue filters screwed onto them. By doing all this you can now go out onto the reef at night and see the reef in a whole new light! All the corals fluoresce as you see above and the giant anemones are super bright and beautiful! Some corals like the plate corals (right side) glow a beautiful yellowish red color and also all the different algae produces some kind of beautiful color although many times it’s hard to photograph. Make sure to crank up your camera’s ISO to 1000 or higher and adjust your exposure compensation button to +3.0 or higher, you have to do this to get as much light out of your camera as possible because your blocking so much of it with those dark blue filters over the strobes. Aimee tends to be a major big help on my dives with holding a VEGA light with the blue filter over my subject so I can focus easier and faster, if you sit there lighting something up for too long the polyps with close (your scaring/disturbing it) and you will have to go to the next one or come back later.

Looking for something different? Tired of night diving? Fluorescence will give you a whole new perspective on the world beneath the waves. With our line of excitation and barrier filters, you can convert your existing lights into a fluorescence set-up. No need to purchase expensive specialty lights or guided dives. Be the explorer!

About Fluorescence………

To see this underwater, you’ll need a light with an excitation filter attached AND barrier filters attached to both your mask and camera system. What you’ll generally see is a glow emitted from a variety of corals and animals, mostly in greens, blues, and reds. You may find two of the same type of corals one which fluoresces, and one which doesn’t. Dive your favorite spots in a different light and see what you’ve been missing!

Fluorescence is technically the photon emitted as an electron relaxes from its excited state to its ground state. In layman’s terms, it’s the glowing you are familiar with in glow sticks, jellyfish, and forensics. A variety of organisms and materials above and below water exhibit fluorescence often with the introduction of a particular wavelength of light.

Fluorescence photography may be captured during the day by experimenting with using a very powerful, filtered light source and under-exposing the ambient light.

Check out all their new products here and get back into night diving, this will for sure change the way you see the reef!

http://www.ikelite.com/accessories/fluorescence/

I have another busy weekend ahead, doing a super long bike ride on Sunday and playing with the dogs tomorrow. Hope you all are doing well, thanks for all the mails….

Cheers, Barry

Mar 25, 15     Comments Off on Vertical Frogfish Photo, Longlure Frogfish
Mar 24, 15     Comments Off on Green Iguana Photos from Curacao
Mar 23, 15     Comments Off on How to Build a Red Footed Tortoise Habitat

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Good morning friends, I finally have some photos of our four juvenile red footed tortoise’s in their new home at Abaai Resort, one of the most beautiful “Bed and Breakfast” places here in Curacao! 

http://www.abaai-resort.com/

The top photo shows the whole turtle enclosure/habitat that Frank (the owner) and I built over the past few weeks complete with two pools, big palm fronds to hide under and two water tight condos to hide in during the nights. Frank ordered a large truck load of giant stones which he pushed in load by load with his wheel-barrow and I put them in place. After breakfast they usually head straight to one of the palm fronds and hang out under them for the day, both photo 3 and 5 show them under these fronds when I went looking for them. We originally got these turtles from Stijn as little babies and for the last few years have been looking all over the island for a better home. Not only do these guys have their new fun home they also have a yard with green grass that the owners have been putting them in during the late afternoons, combine this with a water hose and your in turtle heaven! 

Red-footed tortoises (Chelonoidis carbonaria) are tortoises from northern South America. They are medium-sized tortoises that generally average 30 centimeters (12 in) as adults, but can reach over 40 cm (16 in). They have a dark-colored loaf-shaped carapace (back shell) with a lighter patch in the middle of each scute (scales on the shell), and dark limbs with brightly colored scales that range from pale yellow to dark red. There are recognized differences between red-footed tortoises from different regions. They are closely related to the yellow-footed tortoise (C. denticulata) from the Amazon Basin. They are popularly kept as pets, and over-collection has caused them to be vulnerable to extinction.

Their natural habitat ranges from savannah to forest-edges around the Amazon Basin. They are omnivorous with a diet based on a wide assortment of plants- mostly fruit when available, but also including grasses, flowers, fungi, carrion, and invertebrates. They do not brumate but may aestivate in hot, dry weather.

Eggs, hatchling, and young tortoises are food for many predators but the main threats for adults are jaguars and humans. Population density ranges from locally common to very scarce due in part to habitat destruction and over-collection for food and the pet trade.

Have a great day…

Barry

Mar 20, 15     Comments Off on Two Banded Coral Shrimps in a Vase Sponge
Mar 19, 15     Comments Off on Ikelite, Fluoresence, Blue-Light Diving, UV Dive

Good morning friends! Our friends at Ikelite have just introduced a whole new line of products for all your blue-light diving needs. The photo above shows my Nikon D-300s all set up and ready to go. I have the Yellow Barrier Filter over my 105 macro lens, two Dichroic Excitation Filters over each of my DS-160’s strobes, a VEGA Video/photo light with a Dichroic Excitation Filter (to search with), a pair of Yellow Barrier Filter for the dive mask and my trusty Gamma LED (white light) which I use for an aid in focusing.

Ikelite sums it up pretty well with this…

Looking for something different? Tired of night diving? Fluorescence will give you a whole new perspective on the world beneath the waves. With our line of excitation and barrier filters, you can convert your existing lights into a fluorescence set-up. No need to purchase expensive specialty lights or guided dives. Be the explorer!

About Fluorescence

To see this underwater, you’ll need a light with an “excitation filter” attached AND “barrier filters” attached to both your mask and camera system. What you’ll generally see is a glow emitted from a variety of corals and animals, mostly in greens, blues, and reds. You may find two of the same type of corals one which fluoresces, and one which doesn’t. Dive your favorite spots in a different light and see what you’ve been missing!

Fluorescence is technically the photon emitted as an electron relaxes from its excited state to its ground state. In layman’s terms, it’s the glowing you are familiar with in glow sticks, jellyfish, and forensics. A variety of organisms and materials above and below water exhibit fluorescence often with the introduction of a particular wavelength of light.

Fluorescence photography may be captured during the day by experimenting with using a very powerful, filtered light source and under-exposing the ambient light.

Check out all their new products here and get back into night diving, this will for sure change the way you see the reef!

http://www.ikelite.com/accessories/fluorescence/

Have a wonderful day…

Barry

Mar 18, 15     Comments Off on Grooved Brain Coral, Diploria labyrinthiformis
Mar 17, 15     Comments Off on Blue Tang Aggregation, Acanthurus coeruleus
Mar 16, 15     Comments Off on Red, Blue, Yellow Trumpetfish, Trumpetfishes
Mar 13, 15     Comments Off on Diver with Underwater Camera, Curacao Diving
Mar 11, 15     Comments Off on Peacock Flounder, Bothus lunatus, Flounders
Mar 10, 15     Comments Off on Redlip Blenny, Ophioblennius macclurei, Blennies

Good morning from one of the windiest places on the planet! Today and tomorrow we are expected to have insane winds here which is great for keeping the mosquitos away but bad for walking, diving and biking!

I have a mega beautiful Redlip Blenny, Ophioblennius macclurei sitting so patiently on the edge of a little overhang letting me take his or her photo, it was great! Normally these fish are very shy and although they will return to their same roost time after time it usually takes a lot of waiting and trying to gain their trust! Here in Curacao these little shallow water fish are found in two color variations. One is the reddish brown color (above) and the other is a beautiful grey with a red head but only the reddish brown one has the sexy Revlon colored lips! These fish can reach a maximum size of about five inches but rarely do I ever see them that big. They seem to prefer shallow water even if it’s rough, I see them often in the 1 to 35 foot zone.

Redlip blennies reproduce year-round in the ten days before and four days after the full moon in each month. The male and female pair up in the first three hours of daylight, and the female moves to the male territory. The male has to prepare a nest for depositing eggs. In order to prepare a nest, the male makes a “small box-like” space in its territory and removes coral rubble and dead algae crusts from the space. One male redlip blenny usually has five nests, and the amount of time he spends at each nest is determined by how much the nest is favored by females. Usually the most favored nest has a larger inner surface area and volume than the less favored ones. When a female redlip blenny enters a male’s nest, the female chooses whether or not to mate with the male. Larger males with larger nests have better chance of successful mating than smaller males with smaller nests. During spawning seasons, males reduce their feeding. The eggs are deposited in a single layer, and the male guards and cares for the eggs by blowing air onto them until they hatch as planktonic larvae. The egg batches in one nest may be at different developmental stages because the male redlip blenny is polygynous, mating with multiple females. In other words, the eggs have different mothers. Female redlip blennies tend to be polyandrous as well, meaning that there are multiple nests with one female’s eggs.

Female mate choice primarily relies on the male’s genetic quality (aka. how good his gene is) and/or his non-genetic quality. A male is recognized to have a good gene, if he has physical features that are suitable for survival. Usually, big body size indicates good genetic quality. Mating with a male of good genetic quality assures that the offspring will also have good genes and thus the physical features favorable for survival. This eventually will propagate the female’s own genes. The non-genetic quality includes many examples, such as a good parental care. A good parental care does not guarantee good genes for the offspring. However, a good parental care can increase the survival rate of the offspring, thereby spreading the female’s genes.

Female redlip blennies consider both the genetic and non-genetic quality of the male. First of all, they choose males largely based on their sizes (genetic quality). Larger males can better protect the female and the eggs against predators. Furthermore, larger male redlip blennies have larger antimicrobial organs at their anal-urogenital regions, which they use to prevent microbial infection in the eggs. Female redlip blennies also consider males’ allopaternal care when choosing mates (non-genetic quality). Allopaternal care proves to the female that the male is capable of protecting the eggs from predators. Finally, a statistical study showed that female redlip blennies may prefer older males because the age of the male could reflect his survival ability and thus guarantee the offspring better fitness (chance of survival).

The submersible is headed out in search of rare fish, I may jump in and shoot a new school of baby squids that we have here now but with the wind creating these big swells that may be difficult.

Have a great day…..

Barry

Mar 9, 15     Comments Off on Juvenile Spotted Drum, Equetus punctatus

Good morning all, I have a very tiny, super cute “yes, fish can be cute” juvenile Spotted Drum for you all today. Finding these newborns on any given dive is always a major bonus and photographing them is usually not that difficult. Drums are very territorial and even as babies they will not go far from their home, they just swim in circles all day long in one spot seemingly unafraid of everything! I have seen these tiny babies swimming right in front of giant eels and groupers and never were they in danger? That tall “pole like” dorsal fin you see on top of the head will get much longer and start looking like a sail, it’s truly one of our coolest fish on the Caribbean reef. Once this little drum reaches adulthood it will have a much bigger body with a beautiful spotted tail. It will also have a black stripe across the eye making the eyeball very hard to see and it’s pec fins will become much smaller than what see you see here. Drums reach a maximum size of about 11 inches, this one here was less than a inch!

I spent the weekend working on the new home for our four red footed tortoises which should be done and ready for them to move in by this next weekend, we can hardly wait!!!

I got in a fast 25 mile ride yesterday, it was windy and hot and very uneventful!

I have a dive with the submersible soon, I need to get ready!

Have a great day…

Barry

Mar 6, 15     Comments Off on Best, Top Dive Company in Curacao, Dive Bus

Dive Bus 1 Dive Bus 2

Good morning friends, I get hundreds of mails each month from people I don’t even know saying they are coming to Curacao and asking who would I recommend for their diving needs?? Well, that’s an easy one, just ask your friends at Trip Advisor and they will tell you to head to the World famous “The Dive Bus” the hands down BEST, most FUN dive company in Curacao! As of this week they are sporting around in a beautiful new ride showing the owner Mark (in black) up front on the drivers side and if you go around to the other side you will find Mark’s better half Suzy (in red) sitting right by his side on every dive adventure they make. When visiting Curacao some of the other dive shops may tell you that you can only do boat dives here but this is not true, some of our best dives can be done from shore. The Dive Bus offers THE BEST shore diving adventures on the island and they are by far the most fun group of divers you may ever find! If your looking to get any kind of PADI certifications or you just want to rent tanks, gear or buy some fun gifts look no further, this is one stop shopping at it’s finest, tell them Barry sent you!

You have to watch this fun clip on how the new Dive Bus-Van was born, such a fun video and super fun people, this is why folks keep coming back!!

http://www.the-dive-bus.com

I have to be in the water soon, hope you all have a great weekend!!

Later, Barry

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