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.
Coral Reef Photos is an affiliate of Wild Horizons Photography, a supplier of natural history imagery since 1985. In 2004, Barry took the plunge into underwater photography after his wife Aimee, an experienced dolphin trainer, was offered a job at the Dolphin Training Academy in Curacao. Barry’s daily blog on coralreefphotos.com will give you a glimpse into the life of a specialist in underwater photography. And his galleries showcase some of his favorite images.
Barry is a master scuba diver who is as comfortable under water as on land. He has amassed an enormous inventory of pictures of common and elusive sea creatures that inhabit coral reefs of the Caribbean, mostly from Curacao and Bonaire. Anyone who has attempted underwater photography immediately recognizes Barry’s skill, patience, and passion for the marine life he photographs. Ikelite has been one of Barry’s loyal supporters and equipment suppliers and he is now one of their Ambassadors.
To see or license Barry’s underwater photos, visit www.wildhorizons.com, a stock photography library where you will find online search and purchase options. All images on the Wild Horizons® site are ready for immediate delivery as clean, color adjusted, high-resolution photo files. You may also purchase affordable prints online.
Barry and Inca, master trail builders. When we arrived in Curacao in 2004 we quickly found out the only thing missing was the lack of nature/mountain bike trails, how could this be I asked, doesn’t anyone here ride?? I rushed to the local hardware store, bought a big push broom, a rake, a mega toothed hand saw and a pair of pruners and set out to build the first single-track trail in Curacao called the “Inca Trail” This half mile section ended up taking around 3 months of steady work. Work was slow not only because it’s was just me building but because the brush is so thorny and dangerous and it’s so hot here!! In 2005 Bart Brentjens discovered my trails, (he’s one of the fastest mountain bikers on the planet) and immediately said, “we should have a World Cup race here” and ended up contacting the UCI federation and in 2006 it became reality. The race was hot and heavy, the riders had to do around 6 laps which came out to around 2 hours of riding at top speed!! Who won you ask?? Well of course Bart Brentjens although Julien Absalon was hot on his tail the whole way claiming a cool 2nd! After the race we got to meet all the famous riders, I think I had a smile on my face for a month! That evening Aimee and I had them autograph photos and jerseys and we joined them all at the awards ceremony at Mambo beach. During the awards my name was called and I was asked to come up on stage where they gave me a two week vacation (all paid) in Bonaire for building the trails, it was so unexpected. Twelve years later I have around 15 miles of single-track trails in the Jan Theil area which I still ride three times a week.
Aimee and Inca cooling off in a tidal pool at San Juan Beach. San Juan has a number of dive sites. Playa Shon Mosa is a small beach, the second one from the East on this private plantation. There are no facilities at this location, so if you want to stay longer you have to bring your own food and drinks. Diving at this location is easy. There is a small sandy beach from which you can easily enter the water. From there it is a moderately long swim to the drop-off. Not really a drop-off because the slope is very gentle. Swimming out you can see the beach of the next dive location, Playa Manzaliña.
Aimee and Tina, (Teen-ya) it is hard to say who is more in love with whom. The best time and memories I have with our dolphins are just like these. It lets me just hang out in the water with them, playing and rubbing them down. I think it gives us the time and to really bond. It is because of this bond that I really think of them more like family and friends than just the animals I get to work with.
Here’s Inca at her favorite place in Curacao, Saint Joris Bay. This is a big salt-water estuary lined with beautiful mangroves and sandy beaches, it’s one of our favorite spots to collect driftwood and beach treasures. Like a lot of Curacao you will find trash everywhere but do what we do and look beyond the trash and see the beauty.
Barry and Arjan in the World cup race. This is our good friend Arjan up front with Barry hot on his tail. These guys would ride several times a week and they would always be pushing each other to the limits. This was the non-professional portion of the race. It was in the heat of the day and ran on Barry’s trails plus there was a beach section so that the crowd could see them go by.
Aimee biking on our trail overlooking the salt pans. We arrived in 2004 and immediately Barry began making some bike trails for us to bike and hike with Inca. Soon the entire sporting community was enjoying these trails. The World Cup Mountain Biking Federation held a race here on his trails in 2006.
Aimee, Tina and Papito. Aimee is in heaven. What girl would not be in this situation?
The dolphins just love to be the center of attention. They will lay out for us to hold them up and rub them down for hours.
Barry and the biker boys. This is a photo of Barry with our friend Bart Brentjens (in blue shorts), an Olympic gold medalist from Holland. The guy directly between Barry and Bart is Alberto Contador, the 2007 winner of the Tour de France, the other two are team members of Contador. Each year we have a big road race that attracts world ranked racers. They get to ride and hang out at the beach. It is such a low-keyed event that it is fairly easy to just walk up, visit and get autographs. For us this is biker-heaven. For me, hopefully one day Lance will show up!
Barry, Inca and Indi collecting wood at St. Joris. Well, this is how we do it! We pack water, the dogs and a backpack and hit the beach. You can see from Barry’s full pack that is has been a good day. The long plank is a winner, one we can use for shelves for some new project.