Photograph the Northern Lights While Living for Free in an Icelandic Hotel This Fall

The Northern Lights above Hotel Rangá in Hella, Iceland.
The Northern Lights above Hotel Rangá in Hella, Iceland. / Tim Graham/Getty Images

In the small southern town of Hella, Iceland, is the rustic Hotel Rangá, so named for its proximity to the river Ytri-Rangá—a popular spot for salmon fishing. The lack of light pollution makes the hotel an ideal spot to see the Northern Lights, and there’s even a separate observatory on the grounds so guests can maximize that sky-gazing potential.

This fall, Hotel Rangá will invite one lucky “lights catcher” to stay there free of charge (round-trip flight included) in exchange for some help capturing photos and video footage of the Northern Lights in all their luminous glory. The gig runs from mid-September through mid-October, during which time you’ll be responsible for filling your camera’s memory card with as much aurora borealis content as you can. In addition to free room and board at the Hotel Rangá, you’ll also get to visit The Highland Center Hrauneyjar, the hotel’s sister lodge in Iceland’s Highlands, a 50-mile drive northeast.

Since the job is all about images, your chances of getting chosen are better if you have at least some photography experience—which you can mention on the application under the question “Why do you think you should be Hotel Rangá's light catcher?” And though having a large social media following isn’t necessary, there is a pretty extensive (albeit optional) section that asks you to identify which social media channels you use and how many followers you have on each. If Hotel Rangá does pick you as its first official lights catcher, you’ll be giving them “unlimited license to mutually agreed upon photographs and videos,” and permission to use that content “in promotional material, printed and web, for an unlimited period of time.”

Anyone interested in tossing their hat in the ring can read more and apply through the end of August here.