I think it is very easy to see how the OP's example image was made. It is an essentially straight exposure, nothing special, and some burning around the edges has been done in the darkroom. But it doesn't matter whether it was done after scanning, the same applies.
Obviously choices about the initial contrast range have to be made, to get the definition in the swirling mist. But it is all post processing one way or another, the photographer has seen the end result in his minds eye, perhaps seen what is possible from the initial exposure and developed the film to give himself the best chance, but that is all. Everything else in this image seems to have been done with dodging and burning. This is one of the most basic darkroom techniques, and which can (I would say should) be applied to every image, if nothing else just to balance the edges of the print against the white paper.