Archives for June 2013

Discovering Nature through the Lens of Fluorescence

Bedford Chamber Member  NIGHTSEA

by Brandon Olson | 06 / 20 / 2013



It’s Day 4 of Small Business Week and we are celebrating by sharing the story of a small business owner each day! Meet Charlie Mazel from Bedford, Mass., founder of NIGHTSEA, which provides solutions for viewing and photographing fluorescence underwater, on land, and in the laboratory.

What’s fluorescence, you ask? Simply put, it’s when something glows a visible color when exposed to specific light sources, for example, ultraviolet light. (I apologize to all the scientists out there for my overly simplified explanation.)


NIGHTSEA lights use high intensity LEDs for steady illumination, and for electronic flash units, it supplies custom filters that only allow the desired light to pass through. To view fluorescence, you simply carry the NIGHTSEA blue light flashlight while wearing the NIGHTSEA yellow visor. To photograph, put a NIGHTSEA blue filter over your camera’s flash to provide a blast of blue light, and a NIGHTSEA yellow filter over the camera lens to capture the fluorescence. The results are spectacular!

anemoneFor Charlie, fluorescence has been a long-time interest and hobby. He started in 1972 as a sport diver, wondering what would happen if he swam around in the middle of the night with an ultraviolet light in the cold waters of Massachusetts. He developed his own specialized equipment, and once he got everything working, it was down to the warm waters of the Caribbean to take fluorescent photos of corals. He showed the photos to a marine biologist and asked if he could explain what was happening. The biologist could not, so Charlie’s curiosity led him back to school to learn more.

“I didn’t start with the idea of a business in mind,” Charlie says.

After earning a Doctorate in Biology, with a focus on fluorescence and marine organisms, Charlie considered starting his own business. “I thought ‘Maybe other people want to see this.’ I thought of selling equipment to divers, but a friend in the dive business advised me not to go that way.” So he began working first at MIT and then at a private company, conducting research on underwater optics and fluorescence.

Timing played a big part in Charlie’s decision to take the leap into NIGHTSEA. “The funding for research work had decreased. I had been learning business stuff on the side while running another company. And I saw an opportunity for fluorescence in the industry,” Charlie says.

So in 2009, he took the leap into small business ownership and established NIGHTSEA. “I like being in business for myself, and I like making things that people use,” Charlie says. “I like hearing from people who have been diving for years and get a totally new view of the underwater world using our gear.”

Early on, Charlie experienced a crisis of confidence moment. Worried that he made the wrong decision, he reached out to an experienced entrepreneur friend for advice. “He told me, ‘There’s going to be ups and downs. You just have to deal with it,’” Charlie says. “That really brought me back down to earth.”

Mazel exhibitingCharlie says he attributes any success to the support of others around him, including his long-time friend Ross Kniffin, the one who originally advised him not to go into underwater fluorescence as a business. Ross now helps Charlie run NIGHTSEA.

“Without mentors, I would have failed long ago,” Charlie says. Support from others is a common trait among small business owners. According to a recent survey by The UPS Store, nearly half of small business owners sought out help from mentors when they were starting their business.

“So much in business comes down to personality and people,” Charlie says. So when his local UPS Store changed ownership, something clicked between him and Mostafa, the new owner, and they quickly built a relationship. Mostafa told him about the other services that could benefit his business, and he ended up switching to The UPS Store for his printing and other business needs, including the occasional custom packing and shipping job.

What does the future hold in store for NIGHTSEA? Charlie is expanding beyond the niche diving market and growing the business in the laboratory market, where there are applications for fluorescence in biotechnology research. He hopes to create greater awareness of the hidden world of fluorescence among the general public, ultimately to create greater interest and open up more applications for NIGHTSEA products.

For more information on NIGHTSEA, visit

Follow NIGHTSEA on Facebook at


Shhhh! The Best Home Value in Greater Boston

Are you one of the thousands of families in the Greater Boston area considering a move to the suburbs?  Or are you currently in the suburbs but looking to upgrade to a larger or more luxurious home?

Many families first look for their perfect home in the western suburbs in towns like Weston, Wellesley, Lexington, Concord, Newton and Winchester.  These communities are located within easy access to Boston and Cambridge as well as jobs along Route 128; they offer a variety of attractive historical, recreational and service features; and they have earned the reputation of having some of the best public school systems in the Commonwealth.

But, these towns can be very expensive.  Where can you buy a home that provides you with the above features for significantly less?  How about the Town of Bedford, the area’s best kept secret?  Geographically, Bedford is the middle town between Lexington and Concord and enjoys the same job access as those towns.  It also contains many historical homes and a rich historical heritage.  Bedford has many convenient shops and services and is expanding its recreational facilities.  Perhaps most importantly, Bedford also sits at the table of prestigious school systems as it is one of the top 10 public high schools in Massachusetts based on the annual 2012 Boston Magazine ranking of Boston’s Best Schools.

For those of you considering buying a home, you should definitely consider Bedford home offerings if you are looking to maximize your VALUE and your children’s education.  You may find that including Bedford in your search could allow you to save more than enough for a four year private college education for one of your children.  Sometimes, you can have your cake and eat it, too.

Top 5%  Schools in Massachusetts

Map – Greater Boston Communities _3_

Boston’s  Best Home Value

Boston’s Best Schools

Real Estate Values

 Sample Home Sale Price




 Ave. Sale – 12 Mos. thru Apr. 2013 

 PSF – 12 mos. thru Apr. 2013


 4,000 SF Home

% Higher  Than Bedford




Weston High  







Lexington High  







Concord-Carlisle High  







Wellesley Senior High  







Newton South High  







Bedford High School  







Newton North High  







Belmont High  







Needham High  







Brookline High  







Winchester High