Something I've added to my use with flash is OFC, or off camera flash. I learned about it from a great site called Strobist.com and the idea is very simple and easy to use with outstanding results!
It allows me to shoot stright into the sun if I like creating a wonderful natural backlight and creating a more three dimensional look to my images. Have your flash set-up to fire off camera on a tripod or pole, an extra helper helps alot in this but it's not necessary, a tripod will work great too. Meter for the background, set flash speed to 250, take a test shot. Too hot, back off with the flash, too dark? step forward with the flash and voila! Great images with more flexibility and brilliant blue skies!