Reading another photo blog yesterday inspired this post. Back in the film days, I used to shoot only black and white because I have always liked to do my own printing and I just didn't have the equipment or knowhow in those days to print color. These days, of course, that's all changed and it's just as easy to print in color as in B&W. In fact, you could make the argument that printing nice B&Ws digitally is actually more tricky than color; getting nice deep blacks and neutral grays requires some real care and an intimate knowledge of your printing process. I replied to that other person's entry that if I am going to present an image in color, it is because the color is truly adding something important, not just because I happened to capture it in color. Many times taking the color out is actually a huge improvement. I think most would agree that the original image seen here (pretty much untouched, right out of the camera) is nothing special, but I liked the pose of the egret and the reflections in the water; so I decided to work it up as a monochrome, getting rid of the awful green water and the drab colors and turning it into a pretty effective image by concentrating on the mirrored reflections, then playing with the curves and contrast adjustments until I got the desired effect.
My first influences in photography were some of the greats who never touched color, so I still have a strong attraction for beautiful monochrome even though I have kind of moved away from it in my own work. Check out Lenswork Magazine to see some really nice contemporary B&W work.