This site is visually sustained by the photography of Rod Planck, with whom Common Coast is collaborating on a book project involving the loons of Seney NWR. We are highly indebted to Rod and his wife Marlene for their generosity in sharing these images, all of which were taken on the refuge in 2006 and 2007.
The common loon is both aesthetically striking and behaviorally retiring… both culturally iconic and instinctively reclusive. As a result, the intersection of our own admirations and the species’ ecological needs often proves problematic for the latter. While the passage at left presents a rather acute example of this conflict, it is not, unfortunately, merely an artifact from an earlier era. Modern-day pictures in books, magazines and calendars frequently depict loons whose “naturalistic” behavior has been unequivocally precipitated by the incursion of the photographer, or of functionally tame loons who have grown acclimated to such encroachment only after multiple seasons of highly disruptive trespass; in both circumstances, the birds have incurred a needless cost in the name of artistry.
In contrast, Rod is deeply motivated by a desire to capture facets of the natural world without negatively impacting his subjects, and in this regard is his professional reputation is unparalleled. As this philosophy extends to his current work at Seney, all of his images have been obtained from the shoreline of refuge pools, thus ensuring that loons are consistently allowed to establish a comfortable spatial buffer between themselves and their chronicler. In aggregate the photographs replicate (or improve upon) what we at CCRC observe in our study of the color-marked population, and also mirror what the public can often experience during visits to the refuge… a visual blueprint for benign appreciation of loons and their environment.
Rod and Marlene reside near Seney NWR, and offer a variety of intensive field-based workshops both within the eastern Upper Peninsula and across the globe (the Badlands, Iceland, Antarctica). Please visit rodplanck.com for more information about these offerings, or to inquire about the purchase of Rod’s images.