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Maui - The Winter Paradise

January 17, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

A decade ago, one of the project I was working on code named "Maui". I googled it, and added it to my bucket list immediately. 

Here are some of my favorites from the trip.

Sunset at Napili beach: This beach is pretty cool for sunset pics. Also, we saw at-least 3 wedding photographers that night as well. Diffused light was just perfect.




Haleakela National Park - You gotta leave your hotel by 3.30 to get a parking at the summit. You may ask, why the heck I would wake up that early, but believe me, it's worth it. You'll remember this sunrise for a long time.

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 Helicopter Ride - I strongly recommend taking a helicopter ride in Maui. Some of the views were just phenomenal. Of course, this was our first trip in a helicopter that added to our excitement.

Here is our hotel (Ritz Carlton) from the helicopter. IND_5007IND_5007

One of the many hidden waterfalls in Maui that can only be seen from the air.  IND_5057IND_5057


Beautiful shoreline ..from the air.   IND_5073IND_5073

Decisions ...circus of life. IND_5078IND_5078

Launiupoko Beach Park - We were stuck in the traffic on our way to our hotel. We decided to stop at this public beach to see the sunset. Sunset was meah .. But the coconut trees added flavor to the scene. 


Lady in red IND_5135IND_5135

Ho'okipa Beach Park​ - If you are surfer, it's a must visit in Maui. We saw the biggest waves on this beach. 




Watch closely, you'll see many sea turtles in this beach :)  IND_5405IND_5405 IND_5519IND_5519 IND_5541IND_5541

IND_5335IND_5335 The road to Hana - one of the overhyped places in Maui, but still worth it if you want to kill a day in Maui. IND_5358IND_5358 IND_5366IND_5366

One of the many waterfalls on the way to Hana  IND_5377IND_5377

Fruit stand on the way to Hana ..reminded me of India.


Ritz Carlton - This hotel is made for the perfect vacation. We got lucky with the beach/pool view ...and we spent quality family time here.  IMG_20160104_115631IMG_20160104_115631 IND_4554IND_4554   IND_4590IND_4590

Ioa Valley State Park 

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Visiting San Diego in November (Thanksgiving break with Family)

December 05, 2015  •  1 Comment

This Thanksgiving, we escaped a damp and cold Seattle to spend a week in bright and sunny San Diego. A loving family, mouth watering food, and a couple of decent Sunset made this trip truly memorable. We are still savoring the mouth watering home food. The "masala puri" (a Bangalore delicacy) was definitely the highlight! 

We have been planning to visit San Diego for at-least five years, but the ducks lined up well this year. The temptation of spending a week with family in a place like San Diego was too tempting to resist. Unlike most of our trips, we didn't plan or even discover things-to-do in San Diego. We kept it low profile, followed the lead of our host (Vikki and Smitha). Thanks to them, we were able to experience San Diego like a local!. In between the lazy mornings, and long movie nights, they had meticulously planned to show us San Diego like no other.

Here is the map of our touch points in San Diego. - https://goo.gl/maps/6DHanBnoPZR2

USS Midway: An American aircraft carrier from WWII era. If you want to experience the scale and sophistication of a floating city with an airport, you won't be disappointed.  

IND_3961IND_3961USS Midway - Aim

IND_3955IND_3955USS Midway. Runway is now a playing field for kids.

IND_3946IND_3946 Torrey Pines State Beach: 

This beach was 20 minutes to where we stayed in San Diego. Water was warm for Nov, and we were there for Sunset. I didn't expect much ( there was nothing special about the beach per say), but few shots came out well.

IND_4042Balance Sunset - Torrey Pines Beach Float, peace, Hard shoes to fill Sunset - Torrey Pines Beach Patterns, introspectionSoul reflection Sunset - Torrey Pines Beach IND_4042Path to enlightenment Sunset - Torrey Pines Beach


Loma Point and Cabrillo monument: There are few good photography points in this area. You get the bird's eye view of Sandiego near the monument, as well as good family picture opportunities near the beach.  

IND_4208Loma Point

 Coranado Island Beach: One of the upscale areas of San Diego. Everything in this area looked expensive, and classy. From a beach nearby, you get a beautiful view of the San Diego Skyline. I wanted to get there in the night for a "nightscape", but couldn't make it. Hey ..there is always a next time. 


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San Diego Safari Park: My daughter loves animals, and she thoroughly enjoyed experiencing wildlife in a relatively relaxed environment (Safari theme vs Zoo). My 70-200mm F4 came handy.

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Glacier National Park in September

November 15, 2015  •  Leave a Comment


As you know already, Glacier national park is vast, stretching more than 1,500 square miles. It's filled with lakes, mountains, and Glaciers (of course) making it a heaven for photographers. In this blog, you can find information on my plan, where to photograph (best, and the overhyped), and my learnings from this trip.

Walking/hiking is the best way to explore this park. Traveling with family with a four year old limited our ability to explore glacier national park to the fullest. Any hike more than 3-4 miles round trip was out the question. Moreover, we had only four days to explore this gigantic park, and are forced to maximize our time while we were in the park. After a ton of research, this was our initial plan for four days - https://goo.gl/maps/gtKOj. As it always is, the weather, and new information we learned in the park forced us to improvise on the fly. But, this plan helped as a directional pointer throughout our stay. 

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 12.03.42 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-15 at 12.03.42 PMGoogle map screenshot

First, let me start with what worked in this trip. Our decision to visit Glacier in September turned out to be a double edged sword. During this season, fewer people in the park, but has a much harsher weather. We expected a lot of rain (helped by weather forecast, of course), but was pleasantly surprised by the snow, making the valley look magical. When you add sporadic fall color with a crisp weather, the feeling of being close to mother nature made it special.

Here are my favorite spots in the GNP. 

Two medicine lake:

_IND3098Two medicine lake, east GNPTwo medicine lake, east GNP  Lake MacDonald: I was told that Lake MacDonald offers the best sunsets in the park. This was the best I could get. 

_DSC2949Lake Macdonald - as seen from a lodge nearby.Lake Macdonald - as seen from a lodge nearby. _DSC2849Lake Macdonald (2)Lake Macdonald (2)

Around lake Josephine: I strongly recommend taking a boat ridge to get in close and personal with some mountains in this aread. Also, if possible book a room in Many Glacier Hotel. This hotel offers breathtaking views for sure. 



_IND3341Many Glacier HotelMany Glacier Hotel

Near St. Mary's lake: Offered the best sunset experience during this trip. Clouds literally turned pink, and offered some breathtaking views. 

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Going to the sun road: One of the disappointment of this trip was to not complete the "Going to the sun road". One of the side effects of snow in September is a heavy snow at higher altitudes, namely near Logan pass. I found the west side of park is more beautiful (relatively speaking) and serene compared to the west side.

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To wrap it up, here is our learning from the trip. 

- September can be the ideal time to visit GNP, but be prepared to be surprised by the weather. Snow will certainly add new perspective (if you are lucky) to everything you do in the park. 

- Plan to bring plenty of food/water supply, especially if you are spending a more time on the east side of the park. There were very few restaurants open near the St. Marys town. 

- Plan to stay near the east side of the park irrespective if your are interested in sunrise/sunset shots. It's almost 1-2 hour drive from west to east, either through "going to the sun road" or "driving around the park on RT 2.

- There are plenty of good Vacation rentals to be found on VRBO. We got a sweet deal, and the stay was exceptional. But we made hte mistake of staying in the West side which made our commute challenging.

- Give at-least 5-7 days to cover this park. It's worth it.

- Plan to stay in "Many Glacier Hotel" which has the best views of Lake Josephine and mountains. In addition to spectacular views, you are guaranteed to see mountain goats and bears for sure.

- Plan to do at-least one boat trip in one of the lakes. You can either do it on Two medicine lake, or lake Josephine. You can hike to Grinnell glacier, and choose to take the boat back to save time and energy :).

- Be prepared to sudden changes in the weather. Your plans will almost certainly change :)

Overall, our GNP trip was exciting, and we returned home with an intent to go there again. In our next trip, surely we intend to do a lot hiking and explore Glaciers before they disappear forever (the prediction is that most Glaciers in GNP will disappear in less than 30 years). The time starts now! 

Be sure to visit www.jenukal.com for more pictures. 


UTAH in December - A Road Trip Planner

January 03, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

UTAH in December - Road Trip Planner


I's a known fact that Utah is a heaven for photographers. Let me assure you that you'll be positively surprised. For my family, it was an eventful, relaxing, and fun. This trip has renewed my appreciation for nature and its grand beauty.

In the series of photo blog posts, I'll share my experience visiting Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon in Dec 2013.

Have a plan

My plan for this trip was extensive. After tons of research, I finalized our road trip as shown below. The number of places in this list is long and should serve well if you have 10-15days to explore these natural wonders.

Link to Google Maps - Feel free to use this link to plan your trip.

Few important tips

  •  December in general, Christmas season in particular is notorious for getting good deals on rental cars. Be sure to book from multiple rental agencies if you are planning to rent a car from Salt Lake City. The rental agency that I booked ran out of cars that night and I had to pay premium to get started with our trip
  •  Don't book hotels in advance. What I found was that walk-in rates were 20% cheaper than what I paid 3 months earlier. However, this is not applicable if you are planning to stay in " The View" in Monument Valley.
  •  Speed limit in many interstate highways in Utah is 80 MPH. Be sure to rent a decent sized car for a comfortable ride.  
  •  December temperature in Utah is deceiving. Early morning temperature is around 5-15 degrees. However, afternoon temperature is very pleasant at around 45 degrees. If you are planning to capture beautiful sunrise and sunset, take proper clothing. 
  • Trek/hikes in the national parks can be very tricky. Trails can be very icy and slippery ..be sure to take shoe cleats
  • I would recommend you to buy Photographing Southwest - a guide to natural landmarks by Laurent Martres. This served me well to pick my spots for taking unique shots.


Vinay Kumar

Arches National Park - Winter Paradise - DAY1

January 01, 2014  •  1 Comment
December 22 2013 
I drove for two hours from Price, UT to Arches National park. US 191 offers excellent vistas for multiple photo opportunity. 
View from the rest area on US-191 just before Arches national park. I heard early morning views are truly stunning from this vantage point.

Arches National Park entrance is unique compared to other national parks (at least for me). It's worth noting that the park entrance is less than 5 miles from Moab, UT. I stayed in Archway Inn which I highly recommend. 

View of Moab valley from the park entrance.

Lonely Life - Spectacular viewpoint of Park Avenue. This is the first viewpoint as you enter the park and offers tremendous opportunity for family pictures.

Double Arch - As you drive closer into "The Windows" section of the park, the scale and breadth of this double Arch is mesmerizing. You can see folks look like tiny stick figures in this picture.


Petrified Dunes Viewpoint - This picture don't do justice to the scale of this natural formation. This viewpoint has glorious views during the sunset as the dunes start to glow.

Sunset at Arches National Park: Every viewpoint in Arches is tailor made for savoring beautiful sunsets. Here is a shot of fiery furnace viewpoint. You can also see La Sal mountains in the background as well. 

Another shot of Sunset from La Sal viewpoint. Caption suggestion anyone?

Just after the dusk. You'll have feast to your eyes if you get some clouds around La Sal mountains.

Garden of Eden - Name says it all. My daughter trying her best to pose after sunset. Three second exposure shows it all ..  Any caption suggestions for this pic?

Balanced Rock as seen from Garden of Eden

Balanced Rock - just after the sunset. I would recommend walking up a small hill in front of the balanced rock to get this view. As usual, sunrise and sunset time is the best to observe this sleeping giant.


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