New software was delivered to la casa Beebe today from B&H Photo: Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro. B&H had it on sale for $129. I purchased it because I've seen some remarkably interesting black and white digital images processed with it, and I wanted to experiment with it. This version was still eligible for an upgrade to version 2. As soon as I unwrapped the first version I registered it online. Several hours later came an email with a link to download version 2. I was able to save about $70 over purchasing version 2 outright.
It didn't take long for me to get in trouble with Silver Efex. I processed Lulu's earlier photo (below) with one of the presets, 034 Yellowed 2. I like the tone and overall treatment, but I'm not to crazy about the torn edges effect. Oh well. Half the fun is learning, not just Silver Efex, but all the other tools in my digital darkroom.
The original photo (below) was taken at ISO 1600. The original color raw frame shows a fair amount of chroma noise in the mid-tones and out-of-focus areas. Using Silver Efex I'm trying to produce a more natural grain-like pattern, especially in the out-of-focus mid-tone areas. Silver Efex appears to give a bit more acutance to those areas in focus, such as Lulu's fur on her face. It also helps to make the eyes a bit more distinct and dramatic.
Both of these look a lot better as full-sized prints.