nighttime scene

I took several night time photos and most of them have these transparent rings in the centre of them. Does anyone know what might be causing it?

I took the photo using a Canon Rebel T4i, a Canon EF-S 18-135mm lens with a Rocketfish UV filter. Camera settings ISO 400, f/5.6, 30.0s exposure.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Are these photos from a digital camera or scans of film? Did you have anything attached to the front of your lens? A filter? The pattern is moiré \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Sep 6, 2017 at 21:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ This discussion on photo.net of diffraction patterns in images may be relevant as that effect to me, looks like a diffraction pattern. I wonder what camera and lens it was ? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 6, 2017 at 21:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Relevant: the incorrectly named photo.stackexchange.com/questions/7626/… about Newton's Rings \$\endgroup\$
    – ths
    Sep 6, 2017 at 21:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @osullic Nope, not moiré. Alan Marcus nailed the pattern. It is a beautiful example of Newton's Rings. As Alan asked, how did it get there? Clearly, you have been near water. That's a hint. Brigitte, tell us more about the stuff you have attached to the front of your lens that might be touching in the very centre. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Sep 6, 2017 at 23:34
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe it is Newton's rings, but it looks more to me like a perfectly centered reflection of the front of the lens reflected off the back of a flat filter. Kind of like in this question: What is causing the strange lighter circles in images taken with my Canon 15-85? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Sep 7, 2017 at 4:09

1 Answer 1


This is called “Newton’s Rings”. They are an interference effect between reflections that happen when two reflective surfaces are in close contact. This is the same effect as a rainbow pattern seen in thin films like oil on water. It can happen when a slide or negative is placed in a plastic sleeve. Now you know what it is, now you must figure out what is causing it. Could happen when you scan a negative or a slide. You need to tell us more. What camera? Any optical filters mounted? It this film or digital? How did you reproduce the image?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Spot-on observation, and nice connection with thin-film interference (oil rainbows on water). +1 \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Sep 7, 2017 at 2:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd say it's the UV filter, considering what the OP wrote. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 8, 2017 at 9:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Noddor 130884 - Some filters are dyed gelatin sandwiched between flat glass covers. Newton's Rings can occur however; modern filters are dyed in the mass glass. Additionally, dust and scratches on a filter are not rendered sharp and clear. In other words, unlikely anything on or inside the filter would produce a tack sharp image. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 8, 2017 at 15:48

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