Black and White:Nik Silver Efex Pro:The Bow River

This image has been growing on me.  It is one of several black and whites (actually all were color images converted to black and white after the fact) that I captured one day in June, 2012 while driving south from Jasper, Alberta to Lake Louise.  The day was dark and dreary and the original color image was really rather drab... so it was perfect for experimenting with a black and white conversion.

The image above is the black and white as it was first created within Lightroom.  It was just a matter of clicking the button labeled "black and white". I liked it enough to submit it as a 10" x 15" print to my photo club for our February salon.  It received a nice score from the salon judge, Don Toothaker, so maybe that's why the image is growing on me!

However, always helpful, Don did suggest that I play a bit with the sky and background mountains to try to get more detail from that area of the image.  I thought it would be hard to do, because my recollection was that it was quite misty in the distance.  But when I got home from the salon, I opened the image in Lightroom and saw that I had never really done anything to the picture except click on the black and white button, and everything else was set at the usual Lightroom defaults.  I do own Nik filters and was surprised I hadn't tried any of them.  So, before going to bed, I exported the RAW file to Nik Silver Efex Pro as a 16-bit TIFF file and simply clicked on several of the 20 or so presets to find one I liked.  The presets are great.  You can start with any one preset and then make adjustments using a number of sliders. In this case I chose "high key", hit the "okay" button, and the image file popped back into Lightroom.  Simple and sweet.

I'm not sure whether this is what Don had in mind or not, but I absolutely love the result, and I thank him for his suggestion. 

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