This round of using the new lens worked better than the last round. I was often working in manual mode and generally achieving some good results. There were fewer focus whiffs (but there were still some), and fewer blurry whiffs. Going full manual really helped me to get the camera to where it needed to be.
This round came out to be a bit average, which is good. That means that I am getting to know this lens.
The main lesson from operating on manual: keep your eye on the light meter, and don't forget when you switch between auto-focus and manual focus [doh!]. Also, the lens is not image stabilized.
I used the less color-saturated setting as well on this round of pics. That made them gentler all around. On those pics dominated by natural light and many shades of white, that setting ROCKED.