B&W struggles, a look at 12 years in two tones

Oh black and white photography.. It has been a rocky road.. We have know each other for about 12 years now (almost half my life..). But we have had our ups and down. I am having a seemingly endless struggle to create the images I want on b&w film at the moment. So I thought before I start my next b&w adventure, let me reflect and ask for advice from all of you :)

Recently I’ve had the problem of: what the hell is this? I understand it is an issue with my ISO now, but also I feel it has to do with lighting or actually a lack of light..

And though I have had some photos that did sort of work out with my Diana F+, such as:
But I feel it is not the same as the photos I took a few years ago with my old Rollei 35B. The images were much fresher and sharper and more lively somehow. Now I have to say, I love the Rollei 35, it is an amazing camera. I loved the light meter! That is one of my main problems now, to really understand the scene in front of me enough to get my timing and lighting right (yes, yes, my DSLR has made me lazy ;)). Now unfortunately I no longer have that awesome camera, since the storage unit burned down, with the camera in it.. I am looking at getting a new, well old, one, but it might be a while..
Now it could be that memory is fooling me, but I am doing something wrong I feel. What are your best tips for b&w photos (on the Diana or in general)?

And now, my goal would be to be just as good as someone who has inspired me so much. My mom. Let me show you why (then I wont need words, that will fail to properly express the impact of her photos). Please stop over at her home and look at/like her photos too :)

Credits: marjazuidgeest

written by lilo on 2011-10-11