This image of a snowstorm in Ferndale was scanned from a glass plate. In the early days of photography, getting the right exposure was pretty hit or miss. Especially during the wet plate era, the sensitivity of the emulsion was hard to control. When scanning or photographing glass plates, the exposure can be compensated for to get the most amount of data from the image and to make sure that the dynamic range of the image uses the full scale from white to black.
With this image all that was needed was to correct the exposure, the plate was actually in great condition.