My wife was recently given a Nikon Coolpix P510 as a birthday present from her parents, primarily so we can take a - I believe the technical term is "****load" - of pictures of our new baby girl (their first granddaughter). She had wanted a DSLR, primarily for the "press the shutter button and the thing will actually take a picture instead of thinking about it until the moment's gone" aspect, but I think this is a good compromise between the cell-phone and cheap pocket cameras we've been used to and the $800 Nikon DSLR her parents have.
We've become especially enamored with the cute poses our daughter gets into when sleeping in her crib (since she's learned to roll over, she's become a side sleeper, and she's also taken to snuggling with her stuffed bunny), and I've taken many pictures of her with just the light from a 60W-equiv 2800K CFL in a floor lamp in the opposite corner for ambient; no fill flash (she is asleep after all).
I'm having some trouble making it look "real", matching the exposure level and color temperature to what we see naturally. I have a basic working knowledge of the concepts of film speed, exposure time and aperture, but pretty much all my practical experience playing with them have been with this camera. My best attempts have been at ISO 1600 film speed equiv, with the shutter between 1/4" and 1/8", and maximum aperture for the zoom level (typically about 4-5). With those settings, my baby looks nice and pink and healthy, and not yellow or grey, but the shots look like they were taken with the overhead lights on (too bright and too white). Lowering the film speed to ISO 800 requires crazy shutter lengths (a second or more) which really gives the anti-shake a workout, and she looks yellowish. Lowering the shutter time past 1/10" underexposes even the ISO 1600 equiv, making the entire shot too grey when compensated. I have 3200 and 6400 equiv settings, but most reviews have said to stay away from them because they're unusably noisy.
What do you think the problem might be? Am I fighting the camera's auto-white-balance (currently just set to "auto")? Am I dancing around the edges of the proper settings (unfortunately there isn't an ISO 1000-1200 setting so I've been trying to compensate for film speed with exposure time)?
EDIT: Here's the best shot light-wise from the session. No, the crib is not broken; the framing of the shot a little wonky cause I was free-handing the camera while squatting down at the level of her crib mattress pointing it through the bars while trying not to wake her; sue me. As stated earlier, the sole light source in the room is one warm white 60W-equiv CFL in a floor lamp to the right and downrange. Except for the shadowing, this shot almost looks like we have the main light fixture of the room turned on, which speaks wonders for the camera's low-light capabilities, and really brings out her face, but overall it's a bit too much for the desired shot:
... but when I lower the shutter time to get a more realistic overall light level, her face goes yellow-gray:
I know that it doesn't help that the light source is opposite her face so I have to rely on indirect scatter, but for a shot like this I have to work with what I'm given.
The 800-speed shots from this session apparently weren't worth uploading so I don't have an example.