For Glendale resident Cheryl Herrera, getting shingles was the best — and worst — thing to happen to her.
Herrera said she was bedridden for about five weeks when she contracted the virus four years ago, which was enough time to think about the things she was missing out on and wished she could do.
"I told myself that when I get better that I will not take my health for granted and do all the things that I say I always wanted to do but never got around to doing," she said.
She decided to take up photography as a hobby, which resulted in her traveling to national parks across the United States and Canada, including Joshua Tree, Zion, Bryce and Yosemite. Her creative hobby led her to win the Best of Show Award in this year's annual photography contest hosted by the Friends of the Burbank Public Library.
It is the second time that Herrera, 40, entered the competition, winning second place for Best Scenic Photo in Color last year.
The winners and entries for this year's photo contest are on display at the Burbank Central Library, 110 N. Glenoaks Blvd, during normal business hours through April 26.
Herrera's winning photo is one she took last summer when she and her family were on vacation at Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. Though the vivid image of a turquoise-tinted lake, snow-capped mountains and cloud-filled blue skies appears to be taken during the day, it was actually shot at about 10 p.m., which is about the time the sun sets in that part of the hemisphere during that time of year.
"Everything was sort of perfect that day," she said. "The weather was just perfect. It has clouds and the pinks were coming in. The color of the water really and truly is that color because of the glacial lakes."
The only thing that wasn't perfect was the mosquitoes that were constantly biting her and other photographers that evening.
"They bit me through my clothes, but it was worth it," Herrera said.
When planning trips, Herrera said she likes to go parks with hiking opportunities. "Just being in the parks is what sort of inspired me to take photos. I wanted to remember what I saw at the parks, so I started taking pictures, and I really enjoyed it. It became a passion and something I fell in love with."
With spring break and summer around the corner, Herrera already has a few trips lined up. She and her daughter plan to spend a few days in Iceland before flying out to the Netherlands sometime next month. During the summer, Herrera and her family hope to go to Yellowstone and Glacier national parks.
With her trusty Sony a7S camera by her side, Herrera said she is looking to continue taking more photos and sharing them.
"What I hope to convey when I take my pictures is the feeling I felt when I was taking them," she said. "That's what I try to capture."