This is from "The Quants" by Scott Patterson:

Peter Muller stepped into the posh Versailles Room of the century old St. Regis Hotel in midtown Manhattan and took in the glittering scene in a glance.

It wasn’t the trio of cut-glass chandeliers hung from a gilt-laden ceiling that caught his attention, nor the pair of antique floor-to-ceiling mirrors to his left, nor the guests’ svelte Armani suits and gemstudded dresses. Something else in the air made him smile: the smell of money. And the sweet perfume of something he loved even more: pure, unbridled testosterone-fueled competition. It was intoxicating, and it was all around him, from the rich fizz of a fresh bottle of champagne popping open to the knowing nods and winks of his friends as he moved into a room that was a virtual murderer’s row of topflight bankers and hedge fund managers, the richest in the world. His people.

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  • observed his surroundings – deadrat Sep 9 '16 at 23:20

"Taking in the scene" is used in this context most likely to refer to the character being at some distance from the object of his observance (in this case the room and those in it) and examining it as a whole (as an overview). Without more context from the rest of the paragraph, it's hard to say what else the character was doing at that moment.

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