Have you ever looked at something so often that you feel like you’ve seen all there is to see? It is really easy to feel that way about many things in life: people, places, problems, people… We’ve looked at it from every angle, thought it through from every perspective and concluded that there is no more to see. Depending on the situation, that can be a good or bad thing.

Sometimes there is a peace in knowing all there is to know about something. You know there will be no surprises and the consistency lends a sense of comfort and safety. On the other hand, that same thing can lead to a sense of despair; when you know nothing will change and you have tried everything you can. In the moment, one can lead to joy while the other resignation, but the danger in both is that we can become complacent: too used to it or too quick to want to try and find something new.

I recently went out hunting photos and studio space but was enraptured by a building I was visiting. I had seen this building before numerous times, and it’s not what many would consider an architectural masterpiece, but there was just something different about it that day. It was a hot and muggy Houston afternoon (which I loathe) but the sun was setting, and the sky was especially beautiful with a few clouds in the air. The light was simply gorgeous and was hitting the building in such a way that it seemed like it was something I had never seen before.

It is amazing how light can make something look so different and more interesting. I loved the details that the shadows were giving and the way the sky framed the building through my lens. The warm colors of the sunlight made the old bricks of the building pop while featuring the old fire escape against the building. What I had seen many times before, and had become accustomed to, was new and alive once again; the moment and atmosphere had connected with me in a way that I will never look at the building the same again.

A simple change in atmosphere made such a difference and, as I pondered the moment, I remembered this was not a first for me. In this instance it was the warm light of the sun but, other times, the cool, clear light of the moon created the same moment. I also saw it in how the light reflected off drops of rain that were falling or how the sunlight glistened off icicles and snow that made me see something differently. That change was enough for me to see what I was looking at in a way that I could see and appreciate so much more that I could not if the atmosphere had not changed.

One may not have control over nature, and it can be very hard to see things differently when we have truly looked at them in every way that we can, but there is always hope if we are actively looking to find it. Sometimes all that is needed to change the atmosphere is a small change – creating warmth where there was cold or cooling things down when things were running hot, changing your scenery, or even bringing in a fresh set of eyes that can lend a different perspective – but it can make all the difference. Once you allow yourself to be in that new atmosphere, you may just see something that will change everything.