Sorry for the delay in responding to OP's request for more details about my b&w conversion. I am now happy to oblige, with a caveat: you can't get just details, without enduring my philosophizing about why, not just how, I chose them.
Let me start by saying that the OP photo, in its color, original version, is rather fine as-is. It appears realistic and documentary. It could have appeared in a local newspaper as an illustration how the sky looked that day. Nothing wrong with that. In such a case, the dirt road on the left would not bother anyone, and some might even recognize the area thanks to it.
There are certain scenes and events in nature that speak for themselves, with little or no intervention needed by the photographer. The thing is, however, that the scene like this could have been taken just as well by an "accidental tourist," with his iPhone, had he happened to stand next to the OP on that day. And again, nothing wrong with that.
However, if we, as photographers, want to leave our mark, if we want to interpret the scene in accordance how we felt while there, post-processing becomes important and integral part of the image.
It is important to note that my conversion reflects my own feelings about the scene. There is no way I could guess the OP's intention or reaction to the scene. Thus my post-processing might appear overdone to some. And, as I mentioned many times in the past, it actually might appear overdone even to me, after a while. It is thus important for whomever attempts to recreate my steps to take into account his own feelings, interpretation, and taste while processing it. It is especially important to do so if one doesn't want to convert it to b&w, as color usually can not withstand as strong a manipulation as b&w.Cropping
I could have cropped the upper 10%, but I chose not to. First of all, I know there is an anti-cropping police patrolling these forums, and frankly, knowing that Russ has both guns AND military training, I chickened out
But in all seriousness, cropping, done with the purpose of getting rid of unwanted elements, as much as I personally do not hesitate to resort to it, often changes the overall balance of elements in the picture. In the case of the OP image, as I mentioned in my previous post, the top 10% is the brightest part of the image, and, together with the shape of the clouds, which appear to point up and out, tends to attract an immediate viewer's attention and lead the eye out of the image way too soon. The same goes for the "unnecessary" foreground elements and the dirt road. It could be cropped out, but the balance of the whole image would suffer. I put "unnecessary" in parentheses, as I think it is actually quite necessary, as it provides a sense of depth and perspective in the image. I chose strong overall vignetting and an additional Graduated Filter, with -2 f/stops, in the top 10% instead. Such a solution preserves the overall image balance, hides visually the unwanted elements, and creates a frame that concentrates viewer's attention to the center of the image.Global Adjustments
I am attaching a screen shot with my global attachments. As you can see, there aren't that many. It goes with my philosophy that most adjustments should be local, for the same reason I advise against automated, overall HDR techniques: if everything is accentuated, nothing really is.Local Adjustments
The most important local adjustments is reserved for, arguably, the most important part of the image, the part we want to bring to viewers' attention the most: the mountain range. It is a local Adjustment Brush, with specifics as in the attached file "Mountain."
The second local adjustment is in the left corner, bringing some detail back, via an adjustment brush with +100 shadows (see the attached file for the area covered). This adjustment basically corrects previously introduced strong vignetting, with an idea to create a lighter stepping stone that would lead the eye from left to right (as we read in the Western world) toward the mountains.
Other local adjustments use graduated filters. One, with the center line just above the mountain range, reduces the sky brightness by half a stop, and has a negative clarity of -50. I do not like my sky too crunchy, you know. Given that the overall clarity was initially set at +20, the resulting sky now has an effective clarity of -30. You can vary that to your taste, of course.
Thanks for enduring my philosophizing thus far.