You can photograph El Capitan from several good vantage points including Southside Drive cross from Bridalveil Fall, the Merced River across from Bridalveil Fall, Southside Drive opposite El Capitan Meadow, El Capitan Meadow, the turnout at valley marker V17, Gates of the Valley, and Tunnel View.
The best locations from which to photograph El Capitan: (A) Southside Drive across from Bridalveil Fall, (B) Merced River across from Bridalveil Fall, (C) Southside Drive across from El Capitan Meadow, (D) El Capitan Meadow, (E) the turnout at valley marker V17, (F) Gates of the Valley, (G) Tunnel View. Other photo ops: (2) Bridalveil Fall, (4) Cathedral Rock, (7) Fern Springs, (10) Horsetail Fall.
Immediately after Highway 41 branches off to the south as you proceed east into Yosemite Valley, you see parking on both sides of the road directly opposite Bridalveil Fall (see A on the map). On the north side of the road is an area full of oak trees. From among these oaks you can frame El Capitan as it towers in front of you, as shown in figure 6.1.