Albrook AFB, CZ, 1959--I was a 14 year old Army Brat and had just stepped off a
Super Constellation airplane from Charleston, South Carolina. Immediately, I
felt hot and sticky; a feeling that was to last for the next three years.
few minutes our sponsor had us on our way to Fort Kobbe. We went over the canal,
by the lake, and onto the grassy, forested plains. The tropical smells were
heavenly and the vegetation beautiful. I loved the place already! My feelings
would find an outlet in this photography.
the other new teens, I wanted to get settled, make friends, and was anxious
about beginning high school. I was very excited the day our household items
arrived containing my rudimentary darkroom equipment. My "maid's
quarters" bathroom was converted into a great little darkroom and the
results are on these pages.
Volume I was scanned from
original paper prints kept in an album using those tedious photo corner stickers. These paper prints had survived several relationships; a
marriage and family; and being lost, tossed or given away. Most of my
printing was done just once, if even that much. Almost all original prints were
done in my humble darkroom, and my finances were nickel-dime. So not many prints existed, if you got or bought one, that was it!
It has been touching and emotionally
charged to share these images. Letters sent to me after the first album ALL had
beautiful emotion and sharing of awakened memories. It was ordained
worthwhile to find the negatives and try Volume II. All the scans in
"Two" were made directly from the original negatives. This
allowed a very full range of tones compared to my old, faded, and often
"experimental" prints . Much of this film was tightly wound; roll stuffed into roll. These negatives sat in their boxes with
little interest and no care until Jack and Sandy awakened the Kobbe Kids!
not seen most of these pictures for over 40 years. It was exciting to hold
an old tarnished, mold-patterned negative up to the light and see something I had long
forgotten. Mold? Hm-m-m, it really was humid down there! And that antique looking silver sheen seen on my parents negatives was also
growing on mine!
scanner was loaded over and over and I thrilled as each picture came "back
to life!" I scanned the black and white negatives using my favorite color
negative settings which often produced a natural warm look. I liked that
look and matched its hue to all the subsequent images.
After Volume II, I thought I had all
the Panama pictures located. This was not true. An old friend needed some
pictures from college years and I had to find the negatives. I starting
finding rolls of negatives from Kobbe and Panama mixed in with the later film!
All in those aggravatingly tight little rolls.
I was interested again and Volume Three was created.
Many Zonian Brats, Panamanian Brats,
and Panamanian people had been writing their feelings and interests about the
albums. I went back through the negatives and made another selection of
images oriented towards Balboa High School, the Canal Zone, and Panama of the
early 1960's. This would have been Volume Four but the album was getting a
bit cumbersome to navigate; most have been combined.
Most photos were rescanned for much higher resolution. I once again went through my slides and negatives intending to publish a wider variety. More color images were added as the newer scanning software took care of the faded Ektachrome. The web page photos now allow a great deal of one-click enlargement. Many photos give the feeling "being there" when enlarge. I spent time with Google Earth and Google searches to establish honest "facts" and locate exact positions of the images; I intend this to be a creditable document of this time period.
Sandy and I agreed to merge the Kobbe Kid Album onto the Kobbe Kid website.
The Kobbe Kid Album has been moved to its own GoDaddy location.
The Kobbe Kids have been moved to their own GoDaddy location.
The Kobbe Kid Album was moved onto Kobbe Kids.
The Then and Now pages were unlinked as they had become "back then" themselves. We are becoming Old Farts and Gone Farts.
Seeking Names and Corrections
Please let me know if I have made
errors in information.
It has been over 50 years! I don't think the Scotch and beer have
helped. People's names are as I and other Kobbe-Zonian Kids remember them.
Most images are my property and are not for free commercial use.
Please Contact me for current commercial prices.
You may use my images on personal web sites by crediting: Gary Lee Strong ©2017.
You may use my images without approval in your educational studies such as school papers.
If you do use them, please credit Gary Lee Strong ©2017.
-- Gary Strong, 2017