Based largely on Jon Canfield's review of Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro plug-in for Photoshop, I downloaded the demo version to try it out. My first impression was a somewhat guarded "Wow!", guarded because I'm not yet sure whether it's enough of a "wow" to justify the $200 expense. But, I'm pretty impressed with some of the preset templates as they are, with little adjustment needed. It started me thinking about all the so-so color shots I had on file that I had always thought would be better in B&W but could never quite get the effect I wanted, either in Photoshop CS3 or plug-ins like Convert2BW Pro (now deceased). So, now that the weather has turned crappy and photo expeditions are shelved for a while, I'll spend the remaining 13 days of the trial period seeing what I can do with some of these old shots and learning the finer details of the software.
This shot is new, and I like it in color also, but it's much more dramatic in Silver Efex B&W, using the Full Spectrum template: