Aspen Leaf, Chaffee County

Aspen Leaf, Chaffee County

Aspen Leaf, Chaffee County

Ansel Adams was fond of saying, “The negative is the score, the print is the performance.” I agree. The digital negative for black-and-white is the beginning; from there, we create a musical performance with the image. I was frustrated for years with Photoshop’s challenges in the black-and-white arena, but when NIK’s Silver Efex Pro emerged, I was overjoyed. Many of the techniques I had used in the darkroom, such as high-contrast developers, paper choices, proper filters, as well as push or pull processing, could now be replicated digitally.

This image is an example of creating the performance.


  1. I haven’t used all the other black and white conversion software out there, but I can’t imagine working without Nik Silver Exfex Pro 2. To my mind if you are interested in digital black and white you owe it to yourself to try it.

    1. Steven, you’re absolutely right. Nik’s software (now Google’s, who bought them out) is so good it comes as part of the package with Leica’s M Monochrom body–perhaps the finest black and white digital camera in existence, in my opinion. Now if I only had $19K to spend on the body and lenses.

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