I downloaded a trial for Silver Efex Pro a few years ago and was blown away by the black and white conversions I was able to create. Up to that point, I was using Lightroom to do the conversions and was satisfied with the workflow and results. After seeing what I could do with Silver Efex Pro, I never looked at my black and white conversions done in Lightroom quite the same way. The only problem was this was back in 2010 when the plugin for Lightroom cost $199. As good as it was, I just couldn't justify spending that much on a single plugin.
With the recent announcement that Nik Software (now a part of Google) had dropped the price of their entire collection to $149, I decided to give the latest version of Silver Efex Pro a try. Using Silver Efex Pro 2 as a Lightroom plugin is still quick and painless and the results it helps to create are still stunning. The presets provide a great starting point for the conversion and the localized adjustments make it possible to really fine tune an image. I'm only 5 days into my 15 day trial, but I've pretty much already decided that this time around, Silver Efex Pro is here to stay. Here are some of the conversions I did of my recent long exposure photographs made of various piers around Southern California.