Can I use iCloud to transfer photos from my new iPad to 2008 refurbished MacBook 13"?
You've tagged that you're running Snow Leopard so no, not really. iCloud was introduced with OS X Lion (which is no longer available) and unless you upgrade to the maximum RAM for your system (Apple lists it as 4GB), I wouldn't recommend updating to OS X Yosemite just yet.
However, you should still be able to access iCloud from the website through Safari to access your Reminders, Calendars, Photos and Contacts, and Mail will allow you to set up your iCloud email account. You can also use Image Capture and iPhoto to copy photos from your iPad to your MacBook, so long as they were saved to the device's Camera Roll (that is, weren't copied to it from another computer via iTunes).