Preview: Shooting CHARLENA

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Ben Mendlowitz has been taking photographs for the Calendar of Wooden Boats for over 30 years and his work has become a constant in many of ours lives. So we’ve taken an opportunity to catch a snapshot of the maestro at work and relive a bit of last summer in the process.

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23 Responses So Far to “Shooting CHARLENA

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    scott hitt says:

    Form and function is its own beauty…however, a stunning backdrop so stunning makes the photo timeless!

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    Jay Knight says:

    Gorgeous boat, so happy Eric has breathed life into this classic. Very doubtful if that boat could be replicated in the style and class in today’s environment/economy.

  • David Tew

    David Tew says:

    I just watched this again after Eric’s recent CHARLENA ‘resurrection tour’. The opening and closing scenes in Bill Mayher’s shop are great touches. So cleverly done! Thanks.

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    William Sanchez says:

    Outstanding photos by Benjamin of Charlena.
    Question about Benjamin’s runabout, can you give me some details about her? Thanks

    William Sanchez, Jr.

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    Jim Hansen says:

    Oh, man, those last shots into the sunset…’into the mystic’…made my eyes water. Everyone who has experienced one of these moments of pure glory on the water has to be moved. That Ben can perfectly capture that moment on film for us all to enjoy is just magic. Thank you.

    I gotta watch it again.

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    Clint Chase says:

    I clicked on this one because I just love these older lobster boats more and more with every passing year, as I get older, too!

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    steve johnson says:

    .. just the watching of a true-pro at work,brings more of my own flow into place !

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    David Young says:

    It would be great to hear a little more about Charlena. That sharp entry, beautiful sheer, and fabulous tumblehome are to die for. Isn’t it interesting how the great ones make such little disturbance in the water as they pass. Who designed and built her?

    Thanks to Ben for sharing one of those moments of time and place that we seldom experience and almost never record.

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      Maynard Bray says:

      Hi Dave,
      Charlena was modeled and built by Newell McLain of Thomaston, ME, in 1943. She’s 31′ long and 8′ wide and is now powered by a 37hp Westerbeke diesel. Newell fished her out of Pleasant Point for a couple of dozen years, then she went to Mount Desert Island to become a workboat for Farnsworth’s boatyard. Tom Falt bought her, used her as a dive boat for scalloping, and Anne and I purchased her from him around 1990. With Doug Hylan’s help, we renewed some frames and put in a new platform. I sent on to build a new pilothouse, sheath the deck, and gave her new guards and toerails. Eric and Molly Blake now own Charlena (ex-Mary), so she’s still moored in Center Harbor.

      She is indeed a stunning hull shape, but would be steadier if she were a foot or so wider. Be nice if someone duplicated her with the extra beam. Because her engine is completely in the cockpit area and aft of the bulkhead, she has surprising accommodations, including a cast iron cook stove. She’s quite a bit more than a picnic boat; in fact, Anne and I cruised her to the Chesapeake one fall and lived aboard through Thanksgiving.


      • David Tew

        David Tew says:

        Thanks for the history about Mary/Charlene! Lovely story.

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        Robert Hogg says:

        We need a tour of her, she really catches my eye, dreaming up a boat very much like her for my wife and I to take trips of that nature on. Thanks and be well!

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    Terry Smith says:

    We armchair wooden boat sailors are junkies for these wonderful OCH videos.

    I grew up enjoying Morris Rosenfeld’s work, and have never lost my love for photographs made on the water. Having Benjamin Mendlowitz give us a behind the scenes look at how he stages his shots is a real treat. All the more so when I realized that May’s Charlena is gracing the wall next to me.

    Keep up the great work, OCH team.

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    Hans Scholl says:

    You guys are outdoing yourselves…

    Great to see how the calendar photos come into being.

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      Barry Fitch says:

      +A Wooden Boat calendar has graced our bedroom wall for years. It’s the first thing we see in the morning and the last thing we see at night. Charlena AND a full moon were a rewarding surprise when turning over the page this month. Now to see the filming in action is simply the “frosting on the cake”. Thank You.

  • David Tew

    David Tew says:

    Except for the kayaking and some of the rowing videos, not many of those afloat wear PFDs. Comments?

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      Steve Stone says:

      Hi David ~ It’s a good question, and it’s a safety topic that we take seriously. If there are youngish kids in our videos, they’ll almost always be in PFD’s, except when I happen-onto a situation with the camera and capture what’s happening real life, in real time, with their own parents/environment setting the rules.

      As a general rule, we take a documentary approach to our filmmaking, and I tend not mess with how people generally get on the water in their own lives. We don’t decorate sets, and I refrain from modifying behaviors, so that OCH members get to see it like it is, including messy hair, epoxy stains on clothing, etc. These are not trained actors, and cameras are intimidating, so any suggested modifications tend to make people lock up and not be themselves. Hopefully this translates into feeling like you’re there in the moment, with all its brilliance and flaws, and we hope that OCH members can make their own assessments of the situation and how they might approach it differently (i.e. with a PDF).

      We try to balance being responsible and authentic.

      • Avatar

        Bruce Robbins says:

        I appreciate your approach. There is so much to learn and I have confidence that our assessments are more valid because of the authenticity of your filmmaking.


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