I was recently fingered to take part in the Facebook black-and-white challenge where you are supposed to post a new black-and-white image a day for five days. At first I resisted the challenge (I have enough to keep me busy without looking for new distractions--however fun they might be), but then the daughter of a friend of mine nominated me and it was an offer I couldn't refuse, so I accepted. It has actually turned out to be quite a fun experience and I'm enjoying going through my photo library and picking out shots that I think might convert well to monotone. The two photos above are the first two that I posted for the challenge.
There are a number of really simple ways to convert images to black-and-white in Photoshop (and probably any other editing program), including the Hue and Saturation tool (simply desaturate the image down to 0% and you'll drain all the color out) and the Black-and-White tool (it's in the menu at the bottom of the layers palette). I used the latter for the two images above. Basically all you do it open that tool and then adjust each color (now a monotone channel) in the image. If you slide the blue slider to the right, for example, the blues will get lighter, slide it to the left they get darker. Very easy.
So, if you are an old timer like me and you used to work with black-and-white films (I lived in a Tri-X world for probably 20 years) or if you'd just like to try on a new look, pick out a few images and convert them to black-and-white, you'll have a lot of fun. Thanks Melissa!