Amateur photographer Ken Caleno's passion for finding the perfect shot led him to capture the dramatic moment when a baby duckling was swiped by a predatory pukeko.
Mr Caleno was setting up his camera when he noticed a pukeko snatch a duckling in Millennium Native Forest Reserve in Masterton.
In the "spur of the moment" he captured the image with his Nikon D50, just before Christmas.
"The mother duckling and three tiny ones were trying to get over the land bridge. Two of them made it but the little one slipped down," he said.
"As soon as it slipped, the pukeko grabbed it."
But the story has a happy ending: the pukeko was attacked by the outraged mother duck, who managed to free her duckling, unharmed.
Mr Caleno has always been interested in photography, but spent three years gaining a Diploma in Photography Imaging Level 6 to improve his camera skills.
Mr Caleno said he aims for the perfect image as he sells some of his work as a stock photographer.
"That's why everything's got to be technically perfect," he said.
He said he also shoots weddings, and had a stint of photographing classic cars, but has recently focused on birds, and submitted some of his spectacular shots to the Times-Age.
"I just love photography. It takes me away from everything else. You just get in a zone."