It is rare for me to convert my digital photos into black and white. I nearly always use medium format film for my black and white photography of the details along both the coast and the landscape of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. I avoid the grandiose or the panorama.
However, as I have no b+w film at the moment, and the spare film back for the Rolleiflex SL66 that I used to use for my b+w broke when I was in Queenstown earlier this year and cannot be repaired, I have done a quick conversion of a digital colour image into black and white using Adobe's Lightroom.
I dislike the way that Lightroom converts colour digital files into black and white files. The tonal richness disappears and the image becomes rather drab and flat. There is no punch to them.
So, like many others, I've been using the Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 plugin software to process my digital black and white images in Lightroom. I was happy with what I was using, and I didn't bother looking for alternative software because I rarely converted my digital photos into black and white. Digital black and white photography didn't really appeal.
This is just a small step into the world of digital black and white photography. Though I will eventually buy more black and white film to use with the Linhof Technika 70, the new iMac (currently running the High Sierra O/S) is forcing me to think in terms of upgrading my Sony NEX-7 digital camera to a full frame mirrorless one, and updating my Adobe post processing software.
There are, however, a couple of limitations to stepping more into exploring digital black and white photography.
Firstly, my old Sony NEX -7 does not allow me to set the camera up in terms of monochrome so that I can see in terms of black and white through the camera's viewfinder. So I have to imagine it. This was not a problem in this instance, as I actually did see this rock just west of Petrel Cove in terms of black and white.
Secondly, the Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 plugin software that I uses to process my digital black and white is not working with Adobe Lightroom 5 with the new High Sierra O/S on my iMac. Research indicates that the Nik collection has a limited life because because Google is no longer updating it.
Apparently, Google just needed Nik’s algorithms and technology for other projects (e.g. Google Plus and Snapseed) and didn't really care about the photo processing software. This purchase of the Nik software was primarily about the Google Android mobile phone operating system and positioning the mobile platform (tablets and smartphones) as a primary computing device.
This lack of support for Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 by Google annoys me because Silver Efex Pro 2 was quite good software-- probably the best black and white plug-in for Lightroom. Though I can still use the plug in for Lightroom on my Mac Pro as it runs an older O/S, I am going to have to invest in new software to replace Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and to update Lightroom. The option is probably Macphun's Tonality software. Apparently, it is made by the same people who made Silver Efex Pro and it does get good reviews.
Now these these limitations are not severe. They do not prevent me from photographing those difficult spots where it is not possible to use a film camera on a tripod. Digital black and white is relevant for me when it comes to hand held work in low light conditions using a low ISO; to being able to uncover those hidden, detailed spots due to a strong relationship to a particular location as a result of going back there again and again over a period of years.
In the meantime I've ordered some more film from B+H in New York.