I finally decided to read the instructions for my camera, and learn how to take close-ups. My Canon S30 has several shooting modes, and the one for focusing on something close is called "macro mode".
It turns out that macro mode is very simple to use. Just hit the macro mode button (the icon is a tulip, which didn't really jump out as the button to hit for close-ups), depress the shutter button halfway and let the camera focus, then take the picture. Next up I'll learn how to use manual focus mode. ;)
As an example of my macro-mode experiments, I present an original painting! When I was 10 or 11, I took an art class, which covered pencil drawings to oil painting. My favorite thing to paint was landscapes, especially trees. Still lifes (the proverbial bowl of fruit) were also fun. I remember doing seascapes, but those were tough to get the crash of the wave looking good. One thing I was not very good at was drawing humans, so portraits of any kind were difficult. Anyway, here is a landscape I painted, shot with normal auto-focus:
Here is the painting, shot in macro mode:
KLB Landscape (macro mode)
Another example is a souvenir from Agra, India: a marble coaster with inlaid stones.
Coaster (macro mode)
As you can see, for close subjects, macro mode is much better than auto-focus.
Great timing, because today I received my new digital camera - the Canon SD20. This will be perfect - it is about the size of my cell phone and iPod Mini!
My growing collection of gizmos.
Now what I need is a silver iPod Mini so it matches the other devices... ;)