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 the ‘Soft Corals’

Apr 5, 16     Comments Off on Orange Cup Corals, Tubastraea coccinea, Sea Fan
Mar 7, 16     Comments Off on Coral Reef Scene, Vertical Gorgonian Image
Mar 4, 16     Comments Off on Caribbean Underwater Reef Scene, Soft Corals
Jan 4, 16     Comments Off on Coral Reef Photos, Gorgonians in Curacao
Oct 14, 15     Comments Off on Gorgonian Photo, Soft Corals, Octocorals,
Aug 13, 15     Comments Off on Eastpoint Curacao Underwater Reef Scene
May 20, 15     Comments Off on Diving Through Swaying Gorgonians in Curacao

Hey guys, I was once again under the waves this morning shooting some video and thought a little soft coral would be perfect for today. The video starts out with a beautiful giant anemone and then slowly heads up the reef through a variety of swaying gorgonians, it’s just so peaceful!!

Sorry so short, lots going on….


Feb 13, 14     Comments Off on Ikelite Go-Pro Accessories, Ikelite VEGA Lights

The sea was beautiful yesterday, we swam around from one beautiful subject to another and hated to leave! You folks who have never shot video or photos underwater before will find a whole new World waiting to be recorded down there, it makes diving so much more fun and educational.

Have a wonderful day, Barry


Oct 26, 13     Comments Off on Close-Up Gorgonian Polyps, Soft Coral Polyps

Good morning friends, sorry again about the NO Blog yesterday but with my better half gone I have double duty around the house now. So yesterday I took the day off because today, Saturday we have two sub dives, normally we are closed on the weekends. There is a big group of Marine Biologists here on the island right now having meeting and conferences almost every night and this morning some of those folks are going down in our deep-water submersible. Yesterday I started out the day by leaving the house at 6:30 in the morning with the dogs and working on a new mountain bike trail that will take months and months to finish but at least I finally got it started! We ended up only staying out there for two hours because of how hot it gets once the sun comes out and the dogs just can’t take it!! After breakfast I raced to the Sea Aquarium and picked up Carole Baldwin (Worlds top fish expert from the Smithsonian) and took her for an hour of beach combing, and it was a blast! After that I went shopping, then at 3:30 (it was crazy hot) went for an hour and a half bike ride and at 5:15 took the dogs back out for another hour and a half walk, talk about a fast paced day!

I have two different photos from two different animals showing open polyps on a soft coral called a gorgonian. Gorgonians is the preferred name for this large group of octocorals; however, they are commonly called “soft corals” because of the colonies “lack of hard, rigid, permanent skeletons”. The common name soft coral should be used when referring to members of the family Nephtheidae, abundant in the Indo-Pacific. Gorgonians include the animal colonies known as sea rods, sea whips, sea feather plumes, sea fans and orange sea whips. The stems and branches of all gorgonians have a central skeleton or axis. The central core in the suborder Scleraxonia is composed of either tightly bound or fused calcareous spicules. A wood-like core typifies the Suborder Holaxonia. The core is surrounded by gelatinous material called the rind. Polyps (above) are embedded in the rind and extend their tentacles and bodies from surface openings called apertures. The arrangement of the polyps (in rows, alternating bands, randomly scattered, ect.) is often helpful in the identification process.

Sorry short all, I just got out of the water with some guys from NASA and now have to go back under for another photo shoot. You might see us if you tune into www.seesubmarine.com

Have a wonderful weekend, Barry

Oct 17, 13     Comments Off on Corky Sea Finger, Briareum asbestinum, Octocorals

Believe it or not I have a cool octocoral for you today that is actually a gorgonian, it’s called a Corky Sea Finger, Briareum asbestinum. These are one of the most overlooked and most under appreciated animals on the reef and yet are an essential part of our Caribbean coral reef system. Normally you find these colonies in one to several erect, unbranched, cylindrical rods, arising from a common encrusting base but in this case above they are growing in small low-growing clumps. When extended the large polyps give the colony a “hairy” appearance and the area around pore-like polyp apertures often swollen. Rods or the rind are violet to purple colored, occasionally with some tints of brown or tan with the polyps being greenish brown to brown or brownish gray. If you find these on the reef and gently fan your hand above the polyps they will quickly close leaving only the purple rind you see above, talk about a cool creature!!

Corky Sea Fingers are also referred to as the Sea Stalk Briareum, Deadman’s Fingers, Moss Coral, Encrusting Gorgonian, or simply Briareum. It has long, grass-like polyps which are normally extended continuously, retracted only when disturbed. Briareum asbestinum can have multiple forms including encrusting, flat or knobby crusts, or upright branches as pictured above. The polyps will vary in many color variations, size, and shape.

It is highly photosynthetic, containing the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae from which it receives most of its nutrients, but may also capture some particulate matter.

Well, I have to get ready to go diving, have a wonderful day all!!

Curacao regards, Barry

Sep 24, 13     Comments Off on Soft Corals, Gorgonians, East Point Dives, Curacao
Sep 9, 13     Comments Off on Sea Fans, Common Sea Fans, Gorgonia ventalina

Good morning readers, here are four, beautiful Common Sea Fans, Gorgonia ventalina that we found along the walls of the East coast this weekend. For those of you that have been with me diving you know if I have a camera you pretty much won’t see me till the end of the dive!! This is the curse of the underwater photographer, you get to dive a lot but you don’t necessarily take the time to soak it all in because your too busy racing around the reef trying to get as many beautiful images as possible in an hour! This was the case at Eastpoint, and I am sure many of my fellow divers were watching me thinking, “slow down buddy, you can’t shoot them all”! From the second I submerged to the moment we had to ascend I was racing back and forth on the reef from one beautiful reef scene to another and was amazed that each new shot was better then the last.

Sea fans grow attached to the seabed and look like exotic plants. Unlike soft corals, they have a supporting skeleton that provides a framework and allows them to grow quite large. It is made mainly of a flexible, horny material and consists of a rod that extends down the inside of all except the smallest branches. In the common sea fan, the branches are mostly in one plane and form a mesh that is aligned at right angles to the prevailing current. This increases the amount of planktonic food brought within reach of the polyps, which are arranged all around the branches. Here is Curacao if you want to see sea fans you need to get to our North coast where they grow like weeds! In Bonaire it’s the East Coast that is filled with forests of sea fans and is a favorite spot for sea turtles and schools of fish. These beautiful underwater corals really need strong current and seem to love the surge from passing waves. There really are not a lot of sea fans on the South side of Curacao but we do have a beauty in front of the Sea Aquarium that has been there since we arrived 10 years ago and has managed to survive countless big storms.

The hermit crabs are really out on the trails in numbers right now due to these on and off hard rains we have been getting. During these rains fossil shells wash out from the sides of the banks providing new homes for countless hermits who either want to trade in their old ones or who just want a newer model. Last night we brought a small hermit home because the shell it was in was so small that it’s body was all the way out. Once home I placed him in a big bucket with dirt and placed a few empty shells along side him and within an hour he had left his old home and moved into the new. Then this morning we took him back out to where we found him and said good-bye, and that’s how we do it!!

Off to work, Jack Hannah is here and can hardly wait to meet him!!

Have a great day, Barry

Jun 3, 13     Comments Off on Curasub, Substation Curacao, Deep Sea Creatures
Apr 26, 13     Comments Off on Gorgonians, Octocorals, Knobby Sea Rod, Polyps
Mar 19, 13     Comments Off on Shipwreck Point Curacao, Night Diving Shipwreck Point



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