I was only taking shots to experiment with the exposure modes on my Nikon D40, but as I was finishing up, I snatched a couple of shots of our light shade that I thought might be good for something. That something turned out to be experimenting with black and white. Practical Photography magazine had a monochrome theme in their latest issue, which gave me a clue on making better mono images, with more options for tweaking.
Their tip was to use the Channel Mixer rather than just changing the colour mode. Their instructions were all for Photoshop, but it translated pretty easily to The GIMP – just find the Channel Mixer under Filters, Colors. Tick the box for Monochrome, and play with the sliders to get the look you want. As the magazine said, the best results seemed to be when the slider values added up to around 100:
Neither are wonderful images, but they both have some interest, and I learned a fair bit just by playing.