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 April, 2015

Apr 30, 15     Comments Off on Juvenile Trumpetfish, Aulostomus maculatus
Apr 29, 15     Comments Off on Orange ghost shrimp-Corallianassa longiventris
Apr 28, 15     Comments Off on Mating Pair Slender Filefish, Monacanthus tuckeri
Apr 23, 15     Comments Off on Banded Butterflyfish Photo, Fish faces
Apr 22, 15     Comments Off on Glasseye Snapper, Heteropriacanthus cruentatus

Hi all, I have fresh fish for you all today meaning I just took these photos about 30 minutes ago! This is a foot long Glasseye Snapper, Heteropriacanthus cruentatus that I found under a rocky ledge waiting for his photo to be taken. The top photo shows a perfect face shot dripping with expression and the second photo is the same fish stretching his mouth or yawning, talk about a big mouth!! The bottom photo shows our snapper in parked position where he will hang out for most of the day. At dusk these snappers will leave the safety of the rocks and head out onto the reef to hunt, thus the big eyes which helps them to navigate the reef at night, sure wish they would eat the lionfish!

Glasseye Snappers are common in lagoons and seaward reefs primarily around islands, down to 15 m. They generally prefer shallow reefs (a clue in distinguishing them from similar Bigeye, Priacanthus arenatus that prefer deep reef tops). Often hide in dark recesses of reefs by day, but occasionally drift out into the open near bottom. Nocturnal, feeding mainly on octopuses, pelagic shrimps, stomatopods, crabs, small fish and polychaetes. During the day usually singly or in small groups under or near ledges, but at dusk it may gather in large numbers.

Curacao is back to being BONE DRY with no rain in sight, I don’t understand how anything can survive out there, we really need rain!

Have a great day!

Barry

Apr 21, 15     Comments Off on Whitespotted Filefish Photos, Monacanthidae
Apr 20, 15     Comments Off on Baby Squid Photo, Caribbean Reef Squid
Apr 17, 15     Comments Off on Hiding Sand Diver, Synodus intermedius

Good morning from the Caribbean. I just got out from a long, cold hour and a half dive with my macro lens and other than my freezing cold hands it was great! Here’s one of the many fun shots I took this morning. This is a Sand Diver, Synodus intermedius with just his or her head showing and the rest of it’s body cleverly concealed beneath the sand patiently waiting for some poor unaware fish to swim by. This fish is around 12 inches in length but can be found up to around 18 inches. These fish are some of the most aggressive hunters on the reef equipped with hundreds of razor-sharp teeth and a body that is built for speed! I personally have never observed any fish that moves faster in attack-mode then these lizardfish, they go from 0-60 in the blink of an eye, they need to renamed and called a “Rocketfish”. Countless times I have been laying on the sand photographing some beautiful baby tropical fish unaware of the buried danger next to me. Then in the blink of an eye (or faster) this fish explodes out of the sand like a rocket, grabs my baby fish and leaves me feeling horrible for the rest of the dive! One time in Bonaire I had laid on the sand for 30 minutes shooting a baby razorfish when “POOF” out of no where he was eaten by this guy above and I remember almost being in tears when I got out of the water, it was very upsetting not to mention it scared the heck out of me! Now when I lay on the sand I do a complete check to make sure no danger is lurking, these fish just plain scare me!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend…..

Barry

Apr 16, 15     Comments Off on Bonaire, Giant Southern Stingray Photos

Good morning one and all, it’s almost friday!! I had a request for a stingray photo this morning and it just so happens I had a few on my desktop that I was working on for a dive magazine. This is a giant, five foot plus Southern Stingray we found on the wild side of Bonaire a few years back at a dive site called White Hole. These animals are so fun to watch as they glide over the reef looking for sandy patches to stop and feed and are a favorite find for divers. Stingrays can be very hard to photograph as they are not the most trusting animals on the reef and you can forget about trying to follow one, for me it’s usually one shot of them laying and one leaving.

The southern stingray, Dasyatis americana, is a stingray of the family Dasyatidae (the Whiptail Stingrays) found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Western Atlantic Ocean from New Jersey to Brazil. It has a flat, diamond-shaped disc, with a mud brown, olive, and grey dorsal surface and white underbelly (ventral surface). The barb on its tail is serrated and covered in a venomous mucous, used for self-defense.

The southern stingray is adapted for life on the sea bed. The flattened, diamond-shaped body has sharp corners, making it more angular than the discs of other rays. The top of the body varies between olive brown and green in adults, dark grey in juveniles, while the underside is predominantly white. The wing-like pectoral fins are used to propel the stingray across the ocean bottom, while the slender tail possesses a long, serrated and poisonous spine at the base, used for defence. These spines are not fatal to humans, but are incredibly painful if stepped on. The eyes are situated on top of the head of the southern stingray, along with small openings called spiracles. The location of the spiracles enables the stingray to take in water while lying on the seabed, or when partially buried in sediment. Water enters the spiracles and leaves through the gill openings, bypassing the mouth which is on the underside. Female stingrays can grow to a disc width of 150 cm, contrary to the smaller male stingrays that reach maximum size at 67 cm.

The southern stingray is an opportunistic forager, feeding on small crustaceans, such as alphaeid, penaeid and callianasid shrimp and brachyuran crabs, mollusks, bony fish, and lancelets. It feeds by flapping the wing-like pectoral fins and expelling water to disturb the sand and expose the prey. This bottom-dwelling species is often found singly or in pairs, and can reach population densities estimated up to 245 per km2 in certain shallow systems thought to be nursery grounds.

I’m off to go diving, have a wonderful day!!!

Barry

Apr 14, 15     Comments Off on School of Baby Caribbean Reef Squids Video

Good morning friends, as I drove into work this morning and looked into the water I saw our school of baby squids had seemingly grown overnight and figured there was no time like the present to jump in and shoot a little video for you all. These little sweethearts were born here and will stay here until they are old enough to head out to reef. I constantly see adult females laying eggs under our rocks and then “PRESTO” months later we have new baby squids. These here vary in size from about 1-4 inches and have been in our little protected lagoon for quite some time now, I’m thinking about a month. During the days and especially at night they are out hunting non-stop and they seem to have no problem catching small fish, they are master hunters! With a calm, non-threatening approach I am able to get within six inches from them, they really know how to read a divers body language and will react accordingly to a good or bad diver. I once again used two of the new Ikelite VEGA video lights attached to the new Ikelite GoPro tray, you have to get this on your Christmas list now!

Caribbean Reef Squid are largely piscovorous (means feeds of fish) and wait for their prey to approach them during the day. At night, they are more active hunters. Captured prey are generally a few centimeters long, depending upon the size of the squid. In feeding, fish are transported to the mouth by the arms where they are bitten behind the head and secured until eaten. These arms are lined with sharp hooks, corresponding to adapted sucker-rings. The tip of the arms have a cluster of smoother suckers, while the clubs at the ends of the longer tentacles have both connective tubercles and smooth suckers. The squid will feed on the flesh and internal organs of the fish but discard the head, tail, vertebrate column, and ribs. When out hunting, these squid will employ a number of very clever techniques. Individuals may raise their central upper arms to lure potential curious predators. Another method, presently exclusive to Caribbean Reef Squid, involves hiding their tentacles from the vision of their prey until the time to attack. At this time, tentacles are rapidly extended past the limit of the longest arms. Also, squid can bend their tentacles in a hooking v-pattern to aid in capturing smaller prey. In addition, upon approaching food a squid may twist and spiral its tentacles in hopes of confusing its prey.

During the day, they live in large and organized groups but are never close together and usually equally spaced apart. This species does not cooperatively drive its prey but may compete with one another for food at times. They remain closely bunched and will strike at prey generally one at a time then fall back into line with the group. However, they are known to exhibit cannibalistic activity. When ready to feed, they have been observed anchoring themselves, and remain very still, by the arm tips on the sea-floor bottom and wait for the appearance of its prey. The fish captured are primarily sardines, dwarf herring, false prichard, red, and hardhead silversides. Other prey include shrimp, mysids, and mollies. Food selection is of greatest important to the survival of young squid. In isolated studies, newly hatched squid were very selective in choosing prey but flourished upon large amounts of mysid crustaceans. Juveniles and adults also capture small planktonic animals (copepods) and small arthropods, something I have never seen yet as a photographer.

Have a wonderful day….

Barry

Apr 13, 15     Comments Off on Bananaquit Photo, Curacao Birds, Hummingbirds

Good morning friends, how was you weekend out there??? Our little island of Curacao is again dry and crazy windy with no chance of rain is sight?? We continue do what we can and take water and seed out the trails everyday for the birds and iguana’s and turning our yard into a needed oasis for any passing animals, it all helps! Speaking of yards, we currently have this big beautiful agave/century plant blooming in our front yard which seems to be attracting every kind of animal and insect in sight! Everyday from sunup to sundown the Emerald Hummingbirds (photo 2) and local Bananaquits (photo 3) can be found here dashing in and out of the flowers sipping agave flower nectar, it’s pretty much non-stop action all day long!! At night these same flowers are covered in Bats (photo 3), I just can’t seem to get a good photo because of how fast they are! I don’t know how many of you have ever watched bats at night feeding like this but they are super quite animals and land for only about one second to feed and then off they go again, they repeat this non-stop all night long! I have no clue to how many different bats species there are here at night, I just they are fast, quiet and very hungry. Once the flowers are gone on this agave plant it will then die, but not before sprouting hundreds of baby agave first. After the plant dies we will take all the babies and plant them all over the island one at a time, this insures that in about 10 years many new plants will bloom feeding the animals of the island once more and insuring more needed cross-pollination.

Monday, monday, tons to do!

Have a great day.

Barry

Apr 10, 15     Comments Off on Bonaire Tarpon Photo, Megalops atlanticus
Apr 9, 15     Comments Off on Green Iguana Curacao, Iguana Photos, Images
Apr 8, 15     Comments Off on Sleeping Stoplight Parrotfish Video Clip, Curacao

Hi friends, I have another fun video for you all today of a big adult Stoplight Parrotfish sleeping with his head propped up on a rock and his body laying in the sand. Aimee and I never get tired of seeing this, I mean who would have even guessed that fish sleep?? On any given night dive we see about 20-30 parrotfish, all different species and sizes fast asleep in the weirdest of places! For instance we usually see parrotfish stuck in tube sponges or laying flat up against rocks and it’s not uncommon to find them inside barrel sponges and hidden under algae, honestly if you really look they are everywhere! When I find them out in the open like this one they can be very hard to approach as light will scare them. I’ve learned that coming in very slowly with a non-threatening approach usually works, just be calm and quiet, get in and get out! What cracks me up the most about these sleeping fish is…during the day you can wear yourself out trying to get close enough for a photo but at night they just lay all over the reef, it’s really quite the sight to behold!

I have a big bike ride tonight and tomorrow and friday we are running the submersible non-stop, it will be a busy 2 days!

Hope all is well out there…

Barry

Apr 7, 15     Comments Off on Spotted Spiny Lobster Video, Ikelite Vega’s

Good morning friends, how was your Easter holiday??? The Caribbean Easter Bunny found our little house and dropped off some yummy Belgian chocolates and a new cycling jersey, talk about being surprised! We had 4 days off so as you can imagine I have been very busy with my normal tasks of taking photos, cleaning mountain bike trails, walking the dogs, collecting drift-wood, long bike rides and of course diving, I need a another day off just to recover from all the fun!

I get countless requests for lobster photos so I took those requests one step further and jumped in to the sea late at night friday and shot a fun video clip for you all of a Spotted Spiny Lobster, Panulirus guttatus. Normally any lobster I find on any given night dive is VERY SHY and will immediately backup into their caves and disappear from sight as they are not big fans of light, but not this one! Lobsters are so cool and so much fun to watch, it’s no wonder they are at the top of fun creatures to find out on the reef at night. During the day these animals are hidden deep under the reef in caves and crevices and only come out at night to feed. I used a Go pro 3 attached to the new Ikelite Tray with one Ikelite VEGA video light (on low power) with a diffuser for this clip, it’s honestly the easiest, “even a caveman can do it” kind of videography!

Unlike the true, or clawed, lobsters, spiny lobsters have long, thick, spiny antennae and lack large pinching claws. The Spotted Spiny Lobster (Panulirus guttatus) occurs from Bermuda to Suriname, with populations in southeastern Florida, in the Bahamas, and throughout the Caribbean Sea. Unlike the Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus), which has a largely overlapping distribution, P. guttatus is of limited commercial interest throughout most of its range. On some islands, however, it contributes significantly to satisfying the demand for luxury seafood.

Panulirus guttatus is an obligate reef-dweller, rarely leaving the confines of the reef, and found especially on the fore reef. Several early studies of P. guttatus in Florida investigated the sex ratio, size distribution, and reproductive seasonality of a population living at man-made jetties near Miami Beach. Based on data from their study in the Florida Keys, Sharp et al. (1997) concluded that an individual P. guttatus spends its entire benthic life on a small portion of the fore reef, perhaps even on a single spur. Panulirus guttatus adults forage on the reef at night. They spend the day in dens that extend deep into the reef. There is some indication that males may guard den entrances to protect harems of females from other males. This behaviour has been observed in P. argus both in the laboratory and in the field. The sheltering requirements of P. guttatus appear to be much more specific than those of P. argus. This restriction of acceptable shelter characteristics for P. guttatus may be the primary factor controlling the abundance of this obligate reef-dweller.

I have a very busy day on tap, lots to do!!

Enjoy the clip…

Barry

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