Weekend Wanderer: Austin, Texas to Ketchikan, Alaska

Based in Austin, Texas, Zak Zeinert is a travel and landscape photographer who loves exploring this planet with all of its beautiful sights and wonderful people. He just returned from an Instagram takeover in Ketchikan, Alaska as part of Alaska’s Weekend Wanderer series. For more Weekend Wanderer posts, make sure you’re following Alaska Airlines on Instagram.

My Aunt Dawn has been a flight attendant for a major U.S. airline for almost thirty years. About a month ago, I asked her what she considered was the best domestic airline to work for and fly with. Without missing a beat, she answered “Alaska Airlines.” Thirty-something days later, I can understand why.

Less than 24 hours after that conversation, I received an email with the subject line, “Alaska Airlines loves @ZakZeinert,” and was formally invited to travel to the state of Alaska on behalf of Alaska Airlines.

I’ve longed to visit Alaska since I was about 15 and have loved photography for even longer. When I read that email it felt as if I was dreaming. Even after arriving in Ketchikan, moments of elation would strike me as I remembered where I was and why.

I can’t speak highly enough about my experience as a #WeekendWanderer. As for Ketchikan, I’ve fallen in love with this small town. From the amazing staff at the Inn at Creek Street to the kindhearted locals I met while out shooting, every person welcomed me with open arms and after five days here I feel like a part of the community. The scenery is stunning, the trails are numerous, and there are endless places to explore.

Alaska Airlines gave me free reign to shoot what I wanted. In their own words, they told me to go have an adventure and do what I do best. They gave me the freedom to make the trip my own and I’ll always cherish the experiences I had here and the different places I was able to photograph. From kayaking across Knudson Cove desperately seeking an Orca whale encounter to watching the sun go down over historic Creek Street; Ketchikan, Alaska will forever hold a special place in my heart and I know that this will not be the last time I visit this magical place.

Far edge of Creek Street. I got this shot with my Canon 5d Mark II last night at about 9pm (notice how bright the sky still is). As pretty and iconic as it is now, during the 1920's Creek Street was actually Ketchikan's red light district, or as they say around here, a place "Where more men than fish went upstream to spawn." Looking forward to sharing more of this incredible place with everyone. Stay tuned for more pics! - @zakzeinert
Far edge of Creek Street. I got this shot with my Canon 5d Mark II last night at about 9pm (notice how bright the sky still is). As pretty and iconic as it is now, during the 1920’s Creek Street was actually Ketchikan’s red light district, or as they say around here, a place “Where more men than fish went upstream to spawn.” Looking forward to sharing more of this incredible place with everyone. Stay tuned for more pics! – @zakzeinert
Took this outside of Creek Street. They say come August this river is overflowing with Salmon bringing with it black bears and Eagles to partake in the moving feast. Guess I'll need to plan another trip here soon - @zakzeinert
Took this outside of Creek Street. They say come August this river is overflowing with Salmon bringing with it black bears and Eagles to partake in the moving feast. Guess I’ll need to plan another trip here soon – @zakzeinert
Rainy days look better in black and white - @zakzeinert
Rainy days look better in black and white – @zakzeinert
Made a trip out to Saxman's Totem Park. It was very humbling standing in front of these towering monuments. I particularly like what this guy's doing with his hands. - @zakzeinert
Made a trip out to Saxman’s Totem Park. It was very humbling standing in front of these towering monuments. I particularly like what this guy’s doing with his hands. – @zakzeinert
Saw this sign yesterday at Settler's Cove while out hiking. Truer words have never been spoken, I only hope that one day more people can take lessons like this to heart. There are so many lessons to learn from nature, if we just slow down enough to listen - @zakzeinert
Saw this sign yesterday at Settler’s Cove while out hiking. Truer words have never been spoken, I only hope that one day more people can take lessons like this to heart. There are so many lessons to learn from nature, if we just slow down enough to listen – @zakzeinert
Kayaked out in Knudson Cove. The weather finally turned nice and I absolutely had to take advantage of it. I paddled about a quarter-mile out to this island where I had breakfast while video chatting with my sisters. They both thought I was crazy for going alone, but I've always found time spent in solitude with nature replenishes my spirit a little bit. - @zakzeinert
Kayaked out in Knudson Cove. The weather finally turned nice and I absolutely had to take advantage of it. I paddled about a quarter-mile out to this island where I had breakfast while video chatting with my sisters. They both thought I was crazy for going alone, but I’ve always found time spent in solitude with nature replenishes my spirit a little bit. – @zakzeinert
Out looking for killer whales. Don't tell my mom - @zakzeinert
Out looking for killer whales. Don’t tell my mom – @zakzeinert
When you're out shooting and the local wildlife decides to model for you - @zakzeinert
When you’re out shooting and the local wildlife decides to model for you – @zakzeinert
My work with Alaska air is beginning to conclude. I can't thank @alaskaair enough for giving me such a grand opportunity. It truly felt surreal at times. From the breathtaking locations to the amazing people I met, I will forever remember this incredible journey. I hope you all have enjoyed seeing Alaska thru my lens and I can't wait to share my next adventure with you all! Thanks again, everybody! Never stop exploring! - @zakzeinert
My work with Alaska air is beginning to conclude. I can’t thank @alaskaair enough for giving me such a grand opportunity. It truly felt surreal at times. From the breathtaking locations to the amazing people I met, I will forever remember this incredible journey. I hope you all have enjoyed seeing Alaska thru my lens and I can’t wait to share my next adventure with you all! Thanks again, everybody! Never stop exploring! – @zakzeinert