We measure with a gated intensified CCD camera the cross-polarized backscattered light from a linearly polarized laser beam penetrating a cloud made of spherical particles. In accordance with previously published results we observe a clear azimuthal pattern in the recorded images. We show that the pattern is symmetrical, that it originates from second-order scattering, and that higher-order scattering causes blurring that increases with optical depth. We also find that the contrast in the symmetrical features can be related to measurement of the optical depth. Moreover, when the blurring contributions are identified and subtracted, the resulting pattern provides a pure second-order scattering measurement that can be used for retrieval of droplet size. OCIS codes: 280.3640, 260.5430, 290.4210, 290.1090, 290.1310.