Even north of Lee Vining the scenery is big. Bridgeport area is very nice. East of US395 near Bridgeport is Bodie. A well preserved ghost town. You can drive right to it and walk in. In winter, I don't know how well the road (dirt part of the way) is maintained. Bodie with snow is very interesting.
If you take Rt50 west, you will pass through South Lake Tahoe. If you go north from there (to I80), you will drive along Lake Tahoe on the right and the mountains on the left. This area abounds with ski areas and towns, with easy access to coffee and sticky stuff for breakfast.
The road to South Lake is probably open to Alpine(?) and closed beyond there. The Sportsman in Lone Pine serves up pretty good food.
Stop at Galen Rowell's gallery in Bishop. Schott's Bakery is fantastic.
The Alabama Hills near Big Pine and the eastern Sierra escarpment (with Mt. Whitney) are good photo ops, especially in the morning. As Lisa said, it is a wall. A long lens might be useful. Sunsets are spotty - great if you get one, hohum otherwise.
Later in the spring, a horse trip from Red's Meadow near Mamouth is really fine. One year, I rode through wild flowers up to my knees on horseback. A full days trip can take you to Thousand Island Lake in Yosemite and back.