I bought a cheap shoot-through umbrella and light stand a few months ago, and the afternoon that it arrived I grabbed the first model I could find to test it out: Pogo, my fluffy, old, standard poodle.
We were in my kitchen with the setting sun providing even fill light. I dialed down the aperture to create a shallow DOF (to hide the messy background), and cranked up the shutter speed so the sunlight just provided a light fill. I setup the umbrella on the stand just a couple of feet above and to the right of Pogo, and dialed the power on the Vivitar 285HV down since it was so close.
The effect, as seen in the two examples below, is a strong texture in his hair where the flash was straight on, and very quick fall-off into (still detailed) shadow on the other side of his head, and in the deeper tufts of hair.
Unfortunately, you can see the umbrella’s reflection in his eyes.
His dark, matte, gray and black hair makes such textured and contrasty photos of him unusual, and really emphasizes the intricate network of wavy fuzz that makes him so adorable. I liked it enough that it became the banner for this site.