When White Balance Doesn’t Balance

So I had finally stopped relying on the crutch that was Auto WB and saw a general improvement in the coloring of my photos.  And all was well, the end.

Except not.  I guess I still have some practicing to do, because the Incandescent/Tungsten WB setting recommended for indoor use by Nicole doesn’t always give me the best result.

First I tried the Incandescent WB setting:

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

But it didn’t look quite right, so I tried good old Auto WB:

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

Definitely cooled down a bit.  This second pic looks much more true to life.

These photos were taken in the same room with the same lights as my last post (overhead light and table lamp, blinds open but with little direct sunlight).  Figures.  As I understand it, the Incandescent/Tungsten setting should add blue to counteract yellow lighting, but that is definitely not what I see in the first image.

My best guess is that I should’ve used one of the fluorescent WB settings to account for the CFLs we now have in everywhere.  (Seriously, everywhere.  The local power company came by last year and replaced all of our incandescent bulbs for FREE.  Or somehow paid for by a markup in our bills for the preceding few years.)  But which type of fluorescent?  My Nikon has seven options in a sub-menu: sodium-vapor, warm-white, white, cool-white, day white, daylight, and high temp mercury vapor.  I tried a few:

Daylight Fluorescent:

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

White Fluorescent:

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

Warm White Fluorescent:

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

Eh, Auto WB still looks best.  I see that my manual lists the color temperature for each type of light, but all I know about Kelvins is that 0K is absolute zero (thank you, STEM degree!).  Not exactly relevant to photography.  I feel like it might be a bit too detailed a concept for this stage of my photography journey, so I’ll have to put it on my future to do list.  Until then I guess it’ll be trial and error.

Or Auto.

Update:  I was able to ask Nicole what what balance she recommends for these new light bulbs.  She didn’t have a stock answer because different bulbs will read as different colors, but she said that each bulb should be labelled with its color temperature in Kelvins that can be used to set the white balance.