As for the playing with the camera, I experimented with RAW format, discovered that it doesn't help - much - as long as I'm using Picasa for editing. Besides, it takes forever to save a photo in the camera. Maybe I'll use it in the future; not for now.
Here's a sample of the photos, after Picasa "fixed" them, with a bit of cropping and resizing.
Dried pearly everlasting. Harvested on the Sunshine Coast a month ago.
A carpet beetle larva. I've had this one in a bottle for several months, with a wisp of wool and a piece of feather. He's doing fine, growing and chomping away. 4 mm.
And now, to take an aspirin and head to bed. Just what the doctor used to order.