American Alligator in Black & White or Color?

I took this shot of a large American Alligator (bull) in Brazos Bend State Park this past April.  I have focused a bit more on editing images in Black & White to see how much more texture and light can impact an image versus color alone.  I thought I would see which image you preferred?  I think for this image, I prefer the Black & White version.

Image Information:

Canon 1D Mark III, Canon 600 f/4 L IS II, Canon 1.4 III extender, aperture priority, 1/300 @ f/7.1, ISO 640, exposure compensation -1/3, Fill Flash with Better Beamer

Histogram and Color Image from Lightroom 5:

LR5 Develop Module

LR5 Develop Module

American Alligator Brazos Bend State Park, TX April 23, 2014

American Alligator
Brazos Bend State Park, TX
April 23, 2014

 

To produce the B&W version, I opened the file in LR5 to Nik’s Silver Effex Pro 2.0.

My ultimate goal was to make the alligator and the white flowers stand out from the rest of the image.  So, I first applied a blue color filter at Hue 265° and strength at 100%.  Next, under the Contrast adjustment, I moved the “amplify whites” slider to 47% and the “amplify blacks” slider to 27%.  Finally, to further force the viewer to the alligator, I added a Vignette starting with the “Lens Falloff 1” setting with amount at -14% and I moved the “Circle-Rectangle” Slider to about 40%.  I then clicked save and my file was added to my LR5 catalog.

Silver Effex Pro Settings

Silver Effex Pro Settings

Silver Effex Pro Vignette

Silver Effex Pro Vignette

Here is the final B&W Image:

American Alligator Black & White Version

American Alligator
Black & White Version