I'm going through the same thing over the last 2 weeks. I have a Speed Graphic with 135mm lens. My suggestion is to go back and forth between the books and the camera. You have to know the camera before what the books say make sense, and you have to know what the book says to make the camera work.
I ruined my very first LF negative by pulling out the dark slide before closing the lens aperture preview thingy. You have to make mistakes to learn, and I'll never do that again!
The best advice was to remember that this is a hobbie and it's supposed to be fun. Enjoy the process, even (or maybe especially) the process of learning.
how old is this little potty mouth?
Calumet used to have a video, "Photographing with Fred Picker" with a lot of hands on and two or three sample shoots. He used a 4x5 or 8x10 throughout. I concur with Steve that playing with the camera itself is a great learning tool. If it looks good on the ground glass it will look good on the film.
I'm not sure if the Picker video is still available. I tried to look, but their website lists 479 videos, with no good search facility.
You might want to give them a call, 1-800-CALUMET
Aggie, Congrats on your LF purchase. If you are interested in reading about /learning how to set-up and use your new Wisner,here are a couple of ideas. John Harlin has written a book that will walk you through the whole camera,lens,tripod,first experience etc. It was written primarily for the wooden filed camera user.I have read the book and always refer back to it when I drag my Zone VI out of the closet after awhile. Hera are a couple of links to get the book. www.jbhphoto.com and www.calumetphoto.com
John is a great LF teacher and if you looked into his camera room, you wiould find a 16x20 Wisner,a 11x14 Wisner,sveral 8x10's ,an8x20,& a 4x10.He and his wife are LF fanatics. Thanks Aggie, Jim
Funny you should mention John Harlin. I sat in front of him and his wife yesterday at the Amon Carter Museum. We we there because one of Eliot Porter's sons (Patrick) gave a talk about growing up around Eliot. Then we saw the retrospective that the Carter had up. I had talked to him before at Arlington Camera but had never been introduced. I took the time to introduce myself and we traded war stories and the like.
How do you know JB as he likes to be called now? Are you in the metroplex?