I like how this black & white came out. When I shot it, I exposed for the rocks in the garden. The rest of the scene was very dark and muddy. So, by using the hue/saturation adjustments in ACR, I was able to pull out extra detail in the different colored leaves. The Japanese maple in the middle of the shot really punched out when I tweaked the green and yellow channels. I did a base layer for the highlight detail. Then, I reprocessed the same file at about 2/3 of stop brighter for the shadow detail. I dropped the brighter image over the darker one and by using a gradient mask and little brush dodging, I brought the shadow detail up without losing that nice highlight texture in the stones.
I had a flashback of my high school B&W photography class when I was working this. Back then, I had to cut my masks by hand with a razor blade and work in the dark around nasty chemicals. Can’t say that I miss that part, though I’m glad it’s still around and taught. It really is the best way to learn about photograph. Back to basics.