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.
Nov 9, 16 Comments Off on Mated Pair of Scrawled Filefish, Odd shaped Fish
Nov 9, 16 Comments Off on Giant Vase Sponge with Lionfish, Deep Reef Scene
Nov 7, 16 Comments Off on Damselfish Garden, Endangered Staghorn Corals
Good morning all, how was your weekend out there?? I pretty much just laid around feeling tired after doing an 80k mountain bike ride Friday with the Dutch Navy and Army guys and gals, talk about an “in shape” group of people! We started at 7:00am from the airport and rode a giant loop that took around four hours and half of it was through mud and water sometime up to a meter deep! Sounds fun right??
I have a new “coral problem” for you all today that I found last Thursday out on our house reef. See the little damselfish in the middle of the coral head? He did this damage on purpose to this beautiful endangered Staghorn coral, it’s called a Damselfish Garden. My friend Nick who is a coral expert explains below just what your looking at, it’s very interesting so read on. Nick writes, the story with the damselfish is that they find a bit of coral they like and peck off the living coral tissue. The exposed skeleton becomes overgrown with algae that the damsel fish like to eat. The fish defend these little farm territories so aggressively that they will even chase off larger herbivores like parrotfish that would quickly clear away the algae (I have definitely had them bite my fingers while working with the corals & once had one hit me right between the eyes good thing I had a facemask on). Apparently with the decline of larger predatory fish on reefs worldwide, these little guys have become much more abundant and can be a real threat to reef health. The photo you took is a great example, where you have what appears to be a perfectly healthy coral missing tissue only on that patch at the top where there is a thick mat of green algae growing on the white skeleton. All the green moss you see is where the little fish destroyed the living coral, there is only around 50% or less of the live coral left. Most of you out there already know how crazy endangered this coral already is, so if the fisherman’s anchors and coral bleaching doesn’t kill it, these little fish will, all due to overfishing and having no big fish left to eat the little fish, so sad!
Lots going on today, I have to get moving…
Nov 2, 16 Comments Off on Coral Reef Scene, Sea Fan, Shipwreck Point
Good morning all, yes I know, long time!! Well, we have lots going on these days, we had the Smithsonian here for two solid weeks and that kept me busy around the clock plus we are crazy busy getting our house packed and ready to leave Curacao. I had to fly to Miami last week for one day to get us a car and put it in storage and then race back here the same day, that was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I’m still riding a lot trying to maintain my 100 miles a week but the weather has been really horrible! We have had 100 degree days for almost the whole month of October, combine that with little to no wind and it makes life a living hell. I did a reef dive yesterday with my trusty 16mm and went in search of new coral reef scenes like you see above. The water has been so clear these past few weeks making the diving some of the best we have had all year, it’s like swimming in an aquarium.
Sorry so short, just checking in…
Oct 13, 16 Comments Off on Golden Bass, Liopropoma olneyi, Deep-Sea Fish
Good morning, I have a crazy beautiful, ultra rare deep-sea fish for you today that was found yesterday at around 600 feet! The common name for this little 3 inch jewel is Golden Bass or Liopropoma olneyi. This was named after Dr. John Olney who passed away several years ago and was one of the top marine larval fish experts in the world. Through DNA, Carole Baldwin and Dave Johnson were able to match a spectacular larval fish caught off the coast of Florida to adults of Liopropoma olneyi from the deep reefs of Curacao, a true mother and chid reunion.
Super busy with the Smithsonian…
Oct 12, 16 Comments Off on Deep-Sea Bellator sp. Found by the Smithsonian Inst.
Oct 12, 16 Comments Off on Super-Tiny Juvenile Frogfish in a Heineken Bottle Cap
Oct 7, 16 Comments Off on 1mm Polylepion sp. Found by the Smithsonian & Substation
Oct 7, 16 Comments Off on 3-inch Scorpionfish found at 675 Feet by Smithsonian
Oct 6, 16 Comments Off on Baby Bottlenose Dolphins, Newborn Baby Dolphin Calfs
Oct 4, 16 Comments Off on Bonaire License Plate, Divers Paradise Plate
Good morning friends, I know long time right?? There is so much going on these days that I hardly have time to write. Today we have these freak “surge waves” coming in from the south-west causing complete destruction up and down the coast! These are most likely from hurricane Matthew because storms like that are the only things strong enough to produce these wild waves we are getting today. The waves have been so big and so strong that they are now eroding every beach away from here to the west-end of the island, I even heard reports of huge 20 foot waves that have been hitting the cliffs and wiping out homes??
I had a request for a Bonaire license plate which I shot a few months ago when Aimee and I went over there for a few days. I tried to do some research on what the pictures are and couldn’t find anything on the web BUT I can help with a few or at least guess. From left to right, limestone cliff covered in local cactus and plants, Iconic building that is on the waterfront downtown, a famous lighthouse on the southern tip of the island, a flamingoo and last I think mangroves, that’s my guess. Bonaire is listed and known as “Divers Paradise” why you ask?? Because you can rent a truck, load it with tanks and drive and dive just about anywhere on the island, it’s about as easy as it gets.
Sorry so short, all is well….
Sep 30, 16 Comments Off on Endangered Corals, Elkhorn Coral Polyps Macro
Good morning all, Hurricane Matthew passed by last night with almost no activity here in Curacao?? At 5:00am it was hitting Aruba and the tail was hitting Bonaire but so far we are good other than rough seas and overcast skies and very little rain.
I have a macro shot of the beautiful root-beer colored polyps on an Endangered elkhorn coral that I shot right out in front of the Substation. We have only one live elkhorn on our small reef, it sits clinging to side of a boulder at around 25-30 feet and I see it overtime I head out for a dive with the submersible.
Sep 28, 16 Comments Off on Saint Joris Bay Clean-up with “The Dive Bus”
Good morning friends, yes more trash, I just can’t walk or ride past it anymore without doing something. This has been an on-going project for the past month which I have been doing mostly on and during my weekly mountain bike rides to Saint Joris bay. The top photo I took about a month ago and since then have been bagging it up and stacking it in the bushes away from the water. Then once I get it ready I call Mark from the world famous “The Dive Bus” and as always no questions asked and he comes to the rescue helping me to clean-up yet another trashed area of Curaçao. The bags I used are 55 gallon just to give you an idea of how much trash we are talking about and this is only a tiny little area. My big fear right now is once Hurricane Matthew passes in a few days what this place will look like then, I am sure I will be back for part-2!
Thanks again Mark, have a great day!!
Sep 26, 16 Comments Off on Underwater Blue-Light Photos, Giant Star Corals
I have a few new macro blue-light shots for your viewing pleasure that Aimee and I found late at night on the Sea Aquarium house reef. This whole blue-light thing is still proving to be a major challenge because of not having much light to work with. By that I mean not only are you underwater in the darkness but now instead of having white lights to see and focus with I now have a dark blue light to see and focus with, which is major difficult! I used my macro 105 lens for the above close-up shots of these beautiful large cup star corals and every colony is a different color. My other major obstacle is if you put too much light on these corals all at once or for too long the polyps will close and you would not see the pinks and purples, it would just be green. This is a work in progress, I will keep trying…
Have a great day!
Sep 23, 16 Comments Off on Siderastrea siderea, Starlet Corals Spawning
Good morning friends, last night was the first of three nights of coral spawning for the month of September. I completely missed the August spawning but never the less this month is usually always the best. Like every year 7 days after the full moon corals around the world all release eggs and sperm into the water column in hopes of growing new corals and insuring it’s species will survive. The downside for me is the time in which this all happens, I mean I am usually fast asleep by the time this event is just starting. Aimee went with me last night but only for shore support and to help me get my giant camera in and out of the water, it’s impossible for me to do alone as it’s so cumbersome and heavy. I jumped in at 9:30 by myself and off I went in search of any possible star-corals that might spawn but ended up finding everything but those. I went in hopes of doing some blue-light photos but after not finding what I was looking for I kind of gave up. The coolest thing I found was millions of brittle stars out spawning laying all over the reef at around 9:45 but because I had the blue-light set-up and brittle stars don’t fluoresce I ended up with nothing but memories and swam back in early. I told Aimee about the brittle stars and she said lets just take all the blue-light stuff off your camera and get you back out there to shoot those, what a great idea as I still had 2000 psi left in my tank. By the time I got back out to the reef (only 10-15) minutes had passed, every single brittle star was gone?? You really can’t imagine my total disappointment! The up side to this second dive was now all the Starlet corals were spawning and really going crazy (above photos). This is again something you have to see in person to believe, every single Starlet corals was pumping out sperm and eggs, so much in fact I had to do an emergency accent as I couldn’t see the hand in front of my face and ended up getting lost! Once I surfaced I saw shore and took a bearing, then went back under and made a bee-line for home but first taking as many shots as I could of all this spawning madness. Aimee and I are headed out again tonight, this should be a much better night, wish us luck!
We had no internet here yesterday so I wasn’t able to do much, this is Curacao…