Bruce, I'd never use the word crude in talking about your excellent control over any aspect of your images. And I agree with you that it is largely subjective and partly dependent on the mood you feel and the mood you want to communicate. Ton's example
around Christmas was excellent in illustrating the battle of competing temperatures! Terry, your struggle is subtler and seems perfectly believable... but I did pause to wonder if those were really salmon colored lamps straddling the fireplace
The concept centered in much of the NIK line up of software and HDR FX Pro in particular, that of being able to target specific areas is very attractive although potentially disastrous approaching the seems/ margins of an equirectangular. They're up to v1.2 and maybe it's time to revisit this with more experiments addressing competing colored lights.
The other amazing player emerging is PhotoEngine made by Oloneo. Their ReLight feature has great potential and I've yet to fully explore it. I've only done one set of very limited experiments
. Unfortunately, the scenario of lighting a subject, photographing it, then relighting it some other way, photographing it, and so on doesn't lend itself easily to panoramas as other subjects of narrower field of view. Skipping over the ReLight feature, the HDR processing offered by PhotoEngine is worth looking at. I've just posted the results of my Oloneo PhotoEngine Benchmark Tests
and on my fledgling website if anybody is interested.
If you guys are interested in test driving the current beta of PhotoEngine you're encouraged to download it now while it’s free - even if you're a Mac user. You'll be offered a substantial discount for registered beta testers when it becomes available and a Mac version is planned once they're out of beta. Visit oloneo.com
for more information on this incredible piece of software engineering and for forum discussions, please visit the PhotoEngine group
Regardless of the tool in your hand, color balancing is largely feeling, your eye and practice... something that I know I have much practicing to do.