Aha! Never put the subject in the centre!
I found a great article on how to take better fisheye photos. Clearly, I took ALL these photos before I read this article. The first suggestion is to have your subject in the edges, never the centre. Well. That explains a few things, such as why I was having trouble getting things in focus. Even though I was doing it all wrong and/or making it more difficult than it needed to be, I did get a few photos where the subject in the centre worked out pretty well. I love it anytime I get lens flare (those spots of light in here and there). It's my favourite. We went over to the He-Man-Way's last night and their kitty, Cornbread was very cooperative with the lens. He has to wear a scarf for the time being because he's got a wound that needs to heal up. He's a good sport about it and he looks very dapper in a scarf. Mike and I also crashed Scott's photo shoot. Happily, Scott just invited us to have our portraits taken, so that was fun. Then we watched a video on how to take street photos until way past our bedtimes. In the future, my fisheye photos will include the subjects in the edges, the lens tilted up and/or side to side, and I'll keep my lens clean. Apparently, these lenses get dirtier quickly - due to the shape of the lens. Got it.