Atmospherics, or environmental recon, is the rhythm, the energy of people, vehicles, noises, cameras, music. It encompasses all of your senses. What are you picking up? What are you feeling? Is there tension in the air? A confrontation? A loud muffler? Someone paying too much attention to your children?
When I enter a space I immediately start taking in atmospherics, and start assessing the situation, even if there isn’t a particular threat I’m looking for. It is just second nature to me. I, for one, do not want to take my family into a compromising situation, or one that has the potential to turn dangerous.