We describe the use of combined ultrasonic imaging (USI) and photoacoustic radar imaging (PARI) with linear chirp laser modulation to provide visualization of blood with and without the use of gold nanoparticles. A blood vessel simulating sample (S1) containing pure sheep blood was shown to be an optically weak absorbing medium which satisfies thermal but not acoustic confinement. On the contrary, the blood-gold combinations (S2) using 10% and S3 (20%) Au concentrations behaved as optically strongly absorbing media. A heating efficiency of 0.54 to was determined for Au NPs. The optimal optical power modulation spectral density was determined to be in the range of 0.5 to 0.8 MHz and 0.3 to 1.0 MHz for USI and PARI, respectively. USI produced a better structural image while PARI produced a better functional image of the simulated blood vessel in the order of due to enhanced signal-to-noise ratio. Two-dimensional images of the simulated blood vessel were also obtained. In summary, the PA signal does not increase linearly with Au NP concentration and the change of blood osmolarity due to temperature increase can cause thermo-hemolysis of red blood cells which in turn degrades the PA signal and thus the blood imaging quality. On the other hand, USI produced the best structural image, S4, due to the strong US reflection response from Au NPs and its insensitivity to the presence of blood.