In this third installment of a ‘Kodak moment’, we’ll take a trip back to West Berlin, pre unification Germany, in the summer of 1986.
I was in the Military during the mid-80s and stationed in Berlin from 1984-87. I managed to take quite a few photos when I was out and about including the two featured here. These snaps were taken on Saturday, June 14th 1986 at 19:25. The location is Hardenbergstrasse just before Budapester strasse going east; and I might add, the wrong way!! Dead center is what’s left of the Kaiser Wilhelm church, which suffered a few ‘mishaps’ during the early 40s.
Background info on the shots: we were heading back home from a Military pass and review parade, which took place on Strasse des 17 June. It was an annual allied powers military show, and included the US, British and French. We were going the wrong way down a one way street as it was the quickest way home, so we took it. The Polizei were deflecting traffic at the front thankfully, and they always did a good job of that; they even let us run over fences like you see on the right when traffic got snarled. Our home was located in a leafy gentrified area in the southwest part of the city, near a couple of lakes and close to the AVUS, maybe called Zehlendorf or Dahlem. Our compound was known locally as the ‘Panzer Kaserne’ or sometimes the ‘prison’ due to the fence and razor wire. The location at the time was 51 Hüttenweg; I believe the address and buildings have been erased from history as there were apartments built in 1999 using a different address.
I was riding in the loaders hatch on a Chrysler M60A3 as I took the snaps. I’m thinking I did this as a ‘favor’ for someone in the Company, (Co. F, 40th Armor) as I was attached to Berlin Brigade HQ (Clay) at the time, and was not assigned to a tank.
For some odd reason I took along an awful Keystone XR308 110 camera instead of my nice Canon A1 with 50/1.8 lens. The little Keystone camera had what I thought was a cool feature, a magnifying glass that you used to slide across the regular lens, and it effectively doubled the focal length, so you could ‘zoom’ in. This camera made terrible pictures, but it was super cheap and I could keep it in my pocket.
Today the Google street view (dated 2008) looks similar to the 30+ year old photos, but that’s not the case in the Google overhead view dated 2012. The trees were most likely replaced when the road was converted to two way traffic. Also, it looks like some major construction is going on to the buildings left, and a restoration on the church.
Images taken with a Keystone XR308 camera, which used a tiny negative about 1/4 the size of 35mm, or about the same size as a 4/3 sensor. This camera was awful; however, there were 110 cameras that were pretty good, and could rival the quality of a mediocre 35mm in some cases. The small images below show all the detail present in the film, that’s how bad the Keystone lens was.
Kodak (VR?) 200 C-41 film, scanned on a Nikon Coolscan 9000 ED film scanner.
In the first image I used the sliding telephoto lens to capture the scene of our tanks and the church in the background on this early Saturday evening ; next photo is what the street view looked like a few years ago in 2008, and the following satellite view (with approximate camera view in red), looks like the street has been changed, along with a lot of other stuff. The fourth image is a faithful reproduction of the original print; the shop did a decent job at developing the negative, but had to chop off the top and bottom to fit the paper, in this case it was 4.4″ x 3.5″ (110 x 87mm) measured size. The fifth image is the second shot using the standard lens without the zoom, from about the same spot, with the Google street view following. The second to last image is what the same view would have looked like many moons ago, probably around the turn of the century. The last shot shows the poster that I have from the event, and when I mentioned the time and day you thought I just had a good memory!!
That’s it for this blast from the past.