Having the flash so close to the subject means that the coverage falls off very sharply. Flash fall off theory says that if the flash to subject distance is six feet (1.8 metres) then anything at a distance of 1.4x that (8.4 feet or 2.52 metres) is going to be 1 f-stop underexposed and anything at 2x the distance will be two f-stops underexposed. 2.8x the distance = 3 f-stops and so on. This also has implications for the foreground and so I deliberately angled the reflector to make sure that the stones and rock between the subject and the light did not get much light.
The two pictures in the set of four at the top of this page were shot after I was happy with what I'd done. I have been playing a lot with getting my subjects moving and jumping on and off of rocks took up a few minutes of the assignment. I ended up with a really close up portrait with no flash. - just using a shoot through umbrella as a reflector to get a bit of light into the subject's face.
When the story ran in the glossy magazine that comes free with the paper they chose a version of the second of the four images above. I still prefer the man on the rock with the weak sun image but they wanted to see the sea - who doesn't?
Neil Turner, July 2008