This was originally shot in B&W. I used my point and shoot camera and I am still learning my new camera and my photo editing software. I am really new at this. I have no photography training, I just love being out with my camera. I have been looking into classes at TC3. My cousin .. Who is a member of the forum, but is not on a lot goes there, and she has learned a lot.
I have no idea how to use the manual settings on my camera as of yet. The one time I did try ... I got an all white picture, with nothing in it, but I wanted to see what those settings would do, and we know those are not something to use now. I plan to get out more and practice more as some of the ice goes away. I want to learn using the manual settings. I am just too chicken of the ice. (I will share if anyone wants to know, just ask!!).
It's great that you are learning. I am still too. A course helped me out a few years ago, but most of my training is from books. Feel free to ask us any questions about any aspect of photography. There's a lot of stuff that I don't know, but i'm sure some of the folks on here can help. When I started this site, I was new to photography too and having a project (shooting waterfalls) and this community (where I can ask questions) have been a big help with learning.
As far as black and white... I'm a big fan of color... so i don't have many, but I've been comissioned to convert some of my prints to B&W for a sale and I'll post them here (as well as my conversion technique) as soon as I can get around to it.
The trick to a proper Black and white conversion is to use contrast to give the photo depth. The black levels should be a lot higher in the B & W version than the color. But it's not enough to turn up the blacks, you have to turn up the blacks that stem from the dominant color in your shadows... and crank the highlights that come only from the dominant highlight color.
These are conversions I have done that will appear in a Black and White section of the print store.
I have been experimenting with Adobe Photoshop - Starter Edition. I have been searching some on the web also. I tried picsa .. I believe that was the name, and it wouldn't save the edits. I am glad it was a trial version.
With photoshop, just use the text tool to type a copyright label into any of your shots. It should put it on a seperate "Layer" so it you can remove it later. Picasa doesn't save modificatiosn to your shots. It remembers what you have doen to a shot so you can always come back and undo those actions, and in order to get a modified image out of Picasa you have to export the images.
I could wite a tutorial for B/W conversions but there's so many ways to do it, I wouldn't know where to begin. I would say at this point, try the B/W conversion tool in Cs3, and remeber to identify which color are dominant by inspecting the seperate RGB channels first.